New York Governor Calls for Special Senate Session to Pass Marriage Equality Bill

by HRC Staff

HRC President Joe Solmonese: "This is the moment the time for marriage equality in New York is now"

WASHINGTON - The Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, today applauded Gov. David Paterson of New York for calling New York's State Senate into special session, reportedly beginning on Tuesday, June 23. The governor has said the session will go on indefinitely, until the Senate takes action on a number of bills, including a marriage equality bill that would permit same-sex couples to marry in New York. The State Assembly passed marriage equality legislation last month by an 89-52 margin.

"For those of us who want to see marriage equality in the state of New York, the time to act is now. If you live in New York, call your state Senator today. If you know someone in New York, ask them to call their state Senator. This is the moment, the time is now," said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese.

"We thank Governor Paterson for his continued support of marriage equality, and applaud his leadership in calling for a special session to include the marriage bill. We call on all New Yorkers who support marriage equality to tell their senators that the time has come for all loving, committed couples, and their families, to receive equal dignity, respect, and rights under the law. This is not a Democratic issue or a Republican issue it is a human issue, a question of basic humanity. We continue to work with Sen. Tom Duane, the Empire State Pride Agenda and senators from both sides of the aisle who support equality to pass this vital legislation," said Solmonese.

Over the past several months, HRC has worked with other advocates of equality to organize phone banks, activate volunteers, and gather letters urging legislators to pass marriage equality legislation.

Six states currently recognize marriage for same-sex couples under state law: Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont (effective September 1, 2009), Maine (effective September, 2009, pending a possible referendum), and New Hampshire (effective Jan. 1, 2010). California recognized marriage by same-sex couples between June and November of 2008, before voters approved Proposition 8, which amended the state constitution to prohibit marriage equality. The Proposition 8 vote was challenged, but the state supreme court upheld the amendment last month. The 18,000 marriages of same-sex couples performed before the passage of Proposition 8 remain valid.

New York recognizes marriages by same-sex couples validly entered into outside of New York, but does not permit same-sex couples to marry in New York. The D.C. Council has passed legislation that would recognize marriages by same-sex couples legally entered into in other jurisdictions (that legislation is going through a Congressional review period).

Same-sex couples do not receive federal rights and benefits in any state. For an electronic map showing where marriage equality stands in the states, please visit:

The Human Rights Campaign is America's largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against LGBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.

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