We knew from day one that winning marriage equality in New York State was going to be a step-by-step process. A commonly used phrase at the Pride Agenda is that this is “a movement, not a moment,” which means that people have to be allowed to understand the issue of marriage and then be moved to act in support of it.
That’s precisely what the marriage legislative scorecard represents. When we started, we knew that there were 35 NYS Assemblymembers in favor of marriage equality. We also knew that there were 24 Assemblymembers openly opposed to it, which meant that there were 91 individuals in the chamber who needed to be asked, perhaps guided or even persuaded to come around and see that marriage and the hundreds of rights and responsibilities that the state provides with it have a profound impact on New York’s LGBT couples and our families.
In less than six months, support for marriage has moved from the original 35 to the current 61 supporters. Perhaps even more interesting is that the number of those known to be opposed to marriage has only moved up one to 25.
What this proves is that when we as a community take time to educate our representatives, tell them our stories and ask them to act to end discrimination against our families, they overwhelmingly come over to our side.
The work isn’t done—we still need to get the support of the majority of the 150 Assemblymembers (15-20 more!). But the momentum is on our side and the results so far—especially given the timeframe—are very encouraging.
Timeline: building support for marriage in the New York State Assembly
JANUARY 2006 – JULY 2006
The following Assemblymembers were cosponsors of the 2006 marriage bill, introduced by Assemblymember Richard Gottfried (D-Chelsea):
(Names in red print are no longer members of the Assembly)
Cohen, A. (NYC)
Paulin* (Hudson Valley-Westchester)
Rivera, N.* (NYC)
(A. Cohen: retired)
(Friedman: lost primary)
The following Assemblymembers declared support for a marriage bill during the Pride Agenda’s 2006 PAC process:
AUGUST – DECEMBER 2006
Boyland, Jr* (NYC)
Bradley* (Hudson Valley-Westchester)
Brodsky (Hudson Valley-Westchester)
Miller (Hudson Valley-Dutchess)
Pretlow* (Hudson Valley-Westchester)
Sayward (North Country)
Stirpe, Jr. (Syracuse)
Jaffee* (Hudson Valley-Rockland)
The following Assemblymembers declared their support for a marriage bill during meetings with the Pride Agenda or in conversations with constituents:
Latimer* (Hudson Valley-Westchester)
Spano, M. (Hudson Valley-Westchester)
Zebrowski (Hudson Valley-Rockland)
(DiNapoli: appointed New York State Comptroller)
Cahill (Hudson Valley-Dutchess)
Gunther (Upper Hudson Valley)
*On March 27, a Special Election was held in the 16th, 61st and 62nd Assembly Districts. The following two Assemblymembers declared their support for a marriage bill during the Special Election PAC process:
(Grannis: appointed Chairman of the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation)
Diaz, L.* (NYC)
Total Assemblymembers in support of marriage as of April 25, 2007: 61
*Co-sponsors of the yet-to-be-introduced 2007 marriage equality bill