Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Marriage Equality March In Albany Builds On National Momentum

As support for marriage equality in New York reached a record high last month, at 58%, an estimated 1,000 gay right advocates rallied at the state capitol in Albany Monday, hoping to convince the Republican-controlled Senate to at last legalize same-sex marriage.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who is viewed favorably by 70+% of New Yorkers, said, “I want to be the governor who signs the law that makes equality a reality in the state of New York."

This follows the April formation of New Yorkers United for Marriage—an alliance of the Empire State Pride Agenda, Freedom To Marry, Human Rights Campaign and Marriage Equality New York—which is rallying to overcome Republican resistance and their own history of poor coordination. In 2009, a marriage equality bill failed by eight votes in the NY Senate.

In addition, former President Bill Clinton, who in 1996 signed the Defense of Marriage Act, has joined the campaign to legalize same-sex marriage in New York. He says his views have evolved over the past 15 years: "For more than a century, our Statue of Liberty has welcomed all kinds of people yearning to be free. In the 21st century, New York’s welcome must include marriage equality." Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and daughter Chelsea also support same-sex marriage equality.

New York Lt. Gov. Robert Duffy told the group in Albany, “This is not a political issue. This is not about Republicans and Democrats. Marriage equality is a basic issue of civil rights." He added that elected officials have a responsibility not just for what they personally believe in but for the people they represent. "We cannot represent all New Yorkers if we are closing the door on something so important.”

Meanwhile, Republicans have every reason to be terrified as they continue to fall out of sync with Americans. Even in Virginia, one of the most conservative states in the nation, the tide is turning. A new Washington Post poll shows that 47% surveyed believe gay couples should be allowed to legally wed, with 43% opposed.

Anti-gay Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell is obviously running scared, as he refused to address the shift: "Unless there is an effort to change the Constitution, that matter is settled. That is the law of the land." For now, you old fool... for now.