HRC’s Efforts to Get Marriage Equality Passed in New York

Filed under: Marriage

The Human Rights Campaign played a significant role in the campaign for marriage equality in New York—both in its own right and as a coalition partner.

The Field Operation

In New York, HRC spearheaded one of the largest field efforts in the organization's history. We deployed an unprecedented 30 full-time field organizers—almost all from New York—across the state.

A key senator, Joe Addabbo, announced in a press conference that 73 percent of his constituents two years ago, the last time gay marriage was before the Legislature, were opposed to marriage equality. This year, he said, of the 6,000 people in his district who contacted him on the issue, 4,800 urged him to support it. "In the end, that is my vote," Mr. Addabbo said.

New Yorkers for Marriage Equality Campaign

HRC recruited iconic New Yorkers to support marriage equality. HRC released over 30 videos featuring celebrities, sports and media figures, everyday people and politicians to give voice to marriage. These video testimonies range from Barbara Bush to New York Rangers forward Sean Avery. Find a complete list of videos here. The videos have collectively received nearly one million views on YouTube and earned significant media attention. In addition, New Yorkers for Marriage Equality secured a very positive statement on behalf of marriage equality from former President Bill Clinton.

The Most Unified Marriage Effort, Ever

HRC was the founding member of the New Yorkers United for Marriage (NYUM) coalition. Coalition partners include HRC, Empire State Pride Agenda, Freedom to Marry, Marriage Equality New York, and Log Cabin Republicans. The coalition raised $2 million that it used to advocate for marriage equality.

On behalf of the coalition, HRC recruited New York-based SKDKnickerbocker, the premier political consulting and strategic communications firm, to manage the campaign, including TV advertising, mail, earned media, and lobbying. Other top-flight talent recruited by HRC includes senior strategist Brian Ellner and the Capitol Group, a well respected New York firm with close ties to Republican leadership. HRC has been a significant player in recruiting business leaders to support marriage.

Helping Elect the Right People to Vote for Marriage Equality

HRC helped put fair-minded, pro-equality candidates in the state Senate last election cycle. Our 2010 effort included deploying field staff to New York to do grassroots organizing for pro-equality candidates, including Tim Kennedy and David Carlucci. We also assisted the ground efforts of the state Democratic Senate Campaign Committee and sent 460,000 election-related action alert e-mails. HRC contributed more than $145,000 through HRC New York PAC to support pro-equality state Senate candidates.