Wednesday, May 27, 2009
The op-ed is an enlightened contrast to the backwards editorial that the paper released the Sunday before, which argued that civil unions are enough for same-sex couples. Apparently, the editorial board had a heated argument about the issue before deciding to write the piece that they ran. Unfortunately, they got it completely wrong.
Mayor Duffy, on the other hand, demonstrates why he is so popular among his constituents. He is a true leader, and recognizes the need to strike down injustice where it exists in our laws. His entire op-ed is below:
Gay New Yorkers deserve right to marry
May 24, 2009
"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter."
Martin Luther King Jr.
The state Assembly recently passed a bill that provides same-sex couples the same opportunity to enter into civil marriages as opposite-sex couples. The state Senate will now take up the measure, and I am urging its passage.
While I have no say in this vote, this is not the time to hide our opinions and our positions.
I was raised in a deeply religious family. In fact, my mother was actually a Catholic nun for a time. I am well aware of the Church's teachings. I hold my faith and the Bible dear. But I also cherish our Constitution. To me, this is not about my faith in God. It is about equal rights for all.
As police chief and now as mayor, I have spent my career upholding our Constitution to ensure all citizens are not denied their rights because of who they are.
In my mind, sexual preference is not a choice or one's decision. I believe it is inherently part of our being. The right to marry is a fundamental human right that is being denied to an entire class of people solely because of who they are. It's not fair, it's not right and it's not American.
This is not about religion. The legislation provides that no member of the clergy may be compelled to perform any marriage ceremony. I frequently meet with the faith community and the pastors I speak with know my heart on this matter. I wholeheartedly respect their beliefs and opinions and I ask that they respect mine as well.
Opponents argue that we must defend marriage. This law does exactly that. The breakdown of our families and the lack of committed relationships is a destructive force on society. Let's take the passion we have about the politics of the law and focus it on encouraging more marriage and civil unions for all our citizens.
The gay and lesbian community in our city and state are some of our most brilliant, entrepreneurial and successful citizens. Who are these people? They are our family members, friends, neighbors, co-workers and taxpayers who represent every corner of our community.
Can New York state afford to lose these outstanding citizens? If I was being denied a basic civil right in our state, I would go to another place where I would be valued and welcomed.
This community is the home of two giants in the fight for social justice. Frederick Douglass and Susan B. Anthony dedicated their lives to battle for people who were denied basic human rights based on their race and gender.
We look back on that time and wonder why the fight was so long and so hard for what seems an obvious fact — freedom, voting and equality are not limited to a few, but to all. Future generations will look back on this vote in the same manner. The right for two people to marry in a civil ceremony is fundamental and American.
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Featured in our second ad are Karen, Luke and Jessica Schuster of Rochester, NY. Karen has a gay son and three straight children, and she wants to know why her son Luke does not have the same rights as her daughter Jessica. In Karen's words, If Jessica meets someone and falls in love and wants to get married, she can. But if Luke meets someone and falls in love and wants to get married, he can't. It's not equal treatment. This painful situation is the reality for thousands of families across New York State. We need the New York State Senate to act now and pass the marriage equality bill so that same-sex couples will no longer be treated as second-class citizens.
For more information on the ad and our campaign to win marriage in New York State, click here.
Friday, May 22, 2009
The Sag Harbor Express interviews several local lesbian and gay couples who hope that the Senate will vote to provide them the protections of marriage equality that their families need.
In response to DC’s new law to recognize marriages of same-sex couples, a group of Republicans have introduced a new bill to define marriage between one man and one woman in the District.
The Obama administration is insisting that despite recent controversy, they are proactively working toward repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”
Thursday, May 21, 2009
NYC Council Speaker Christine Quinn lobbied for marriage equality in Albany on Tuesday.
New Hampshire’s same-sex marriage bill has hit a snag, as the House was two votes short of approving Gov. Lynch’s new religious exemptions yesterday. The bill now goes to committee to be considered further.
A gay veteran speaks out against “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” in a Wall Street Journal op-ed.
The Wall Street Journal writes on the Massachusetts lawsuit challenging DOMA.
In light of D.C.’s decision to recognize the marriages of same-sex couples, the AP writes on the shifting opinions in the black community there.
The ACLU is threatening to sue a San Diego County school that refused to let a student present a report on Harvey Milk until her classmates got their parents' permission to hear it due to its “sex education” nature. The student’s mother is outraged, saying “Harvey Milk was an elected official in this state and an important person in history. To say my daughter's presentation is sex education because Harvey Milk happened to be gay is completely wrong.”
Pam Spaulding blogs on The Dallas Principles, a document drafted by her and 23 other LGBT equality advocates "to see how we could seize this special moment in history, to think outside of the box about how we can accelerate achieving full civil rights" for LGBT people.
Pam’s House Blend also has an interesting video created to discuss the controversy surrounding the Gender Identity Disorder diagnosis and its inclusion in the DSM.
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Gay rights activists are mourning the death of Rodger McFarlane, who was a leader in the 1980s of New York’s Gay Men’s Health Crisis, the nation’s first organization to provide services for people with AIDS.
The Connecticut border town of Greenwich is proving to be a popular wedding destination for same-sex couples from out of state.
Monday, May 18, 2009
Joe.My.God has pictures.
The New York Times covers both the Times Square rally and the anti-marriage rally in front of the Gov’s office earlier in the day.
The Journal News editorializes poignantly that we know more about Miss California’s stance on marriage for same-sex couples than we do of New York’s State Senators – and it’s time for them to take a stand on the side of equality for their LGBT constituents.
The Democrat & Chronicle ran two excellent opinion pieces yesterday highlighting religious voices in support of marriage – one by Pride Agenda Board Director Rev. Jen Crow, and the other by Rev. Prince Singh, the Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Rochester who also spoke at Equality & Justice Day this year.
The D&C also featured a story on marriage for same-sex couples that mentioned the Pride Agenda’s Spring Dinner this past Saturday in Rochester and quoted Dinner Co-Chairs Emily Jones and Matt Haag.
The AP has a great rundown of last week’s marriage debate in the New York Assembly.
New Hampshire Gov. John Lynch says he will only sign the state’s marriage bill if extra protections for religious groups and their employees are added.
RNC Chairman Michael Steele says Republicans should fight against same-sex marriage with the argument that it will hurt small businesses that will be required to provide additional benefits as a result. Perhaps he should check out the studies that have already shown this to be false – on average, employers’ costs only increase 1% to 2% as a result of providing benefits for same-sex couples.
And what about the revenue that marriage for same-sex couples brings to states -- like the $111 million so far in Massachusetts, Mr. Steele?
Thursday, May 14, 2009
In just over 24 hours, we’ve already begun to receive unprecedented positive feedback and support demonstrating the amazing momentum of the movement and the comittment of LGBT advocates and allies across not just the state, but the nation.
Some feedback in the media includes:
Both the Albany Times-Union and the Syracuse Post-Standard – papers in two of the key areas where our ad is being shown – editorialized today on the need to pass marriage.
The ad has also been featured on LGBT and politics blogs here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here.
Since the ad began to air, the Crawfords have also been featured in the local news, including Channel 9 in Syracuse.
For more information on the ad and our campaign to win marriage in New York State, click here. And stay tuned for more updates on marriage passing the Assembly and the efforts underway in the Senate!
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
We'll see you there!
Last night, the marriage bill (A.7732/O'Donnell) passed the Assembly 89-52. This is the second time that the Assembly has voted on and passed marriage equality legislation. Today’s vote saw an increase in four supporters over 2007, including three additional Democrat votes and one additional Republican vote, for a total of 84 Democrats and five Republicans voting to support marriage equality for same-sex couples. Five Assemblymembers who voted “no” in 2007 voted “yes” last night.
The vote tally is below. Italics denote Republicans; bold denotes Assemblymembers who voted “no” in 2007 and “yes” this year; "ABS" denotes absent/no vote. To find out who your Assemblymember is, click here.
Abbate, Jr. NO
Boyland, Jr. Y
ClarkNO NO Colton
Farrell, Jr. Y
Lopez, P NO
Lopez, V Y
Rivera, J Y
Rivera, N Y
Rivera, P Y
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
A New York Times columnist writes that although some people think Obama is moving slow on the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and other LGBT issues, recent advances and shifting public opinion could drive him to take more action in the near future.
A Maine transgender woman writes in the New York Times on the complexities of marriage for trans people.
The Times also writes on NYS Assemblymember Danny O’Donnell’s efforts to secure increased support for marriage in his chamber.
The Boston Globe writes on the New England states’ characteristics that make them more friendly to marriage for same-sex couples.
Monday, May 11, 2009
The New York Times’ City Room blog has a run-down of last Thursday’s conference of New York legal experts in support of marriage equality.
The Obama administration has indicated that it is having “preliminary discussions” about repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” – but has made no promises on a timeline for action.
In the Washington Post, at at-large member of the D.C. Council praises its decision to extend recognition to legally married same-sex couples, while an anti-gay rally organizer writes that the decision “marked a new low in irresponsible leadership.”
Five years after marriage for same-sex couples first became legal in Massachusetts, the AP reflects on how it has affected lesbian and gay couples in the state.
The Times also covers some of the basics of health insurance for gay couples.
In honor of Mother’s Day this past weekend, a Huffington Post blogger wrote on the powerful experiences of children raised by gay parents.
Friday, May 8, 2009
Edge News has Sen. Duane and NYC Council Speaker Quinn’s reactions to Maine winning marriage.
Opponents who are already challenging Maine marriage equality must collect 55,087 signatures by mid-Sept. in order to put the issue on the Nov. ballot. If they succeed, the marriage law will be stayed until after the voters weigh in.
The New York Times editorial board urges New Hampshire’s Gov. John Lynch – as well as officials in other states with same-sex marriage bills on the table – to stand on the side of fairness and make marriage equality the law.
The Times’ ed board also encourages Obama to choose a gay Supreme Court Justice to replace Souter.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said that she hopes Congress won’t interfere with D.C.’s passage of a marriage recognition law.
Thursday, May 7, 2009
Maine marriage may face a so-called “people’s veto” – a voter referendum in the state. The Bangor Daily News editorializes against a referendum with this simple and eloquent argument: “Many lawmakers believe the issue should be decided by the voters…This is a popular argument, but it overlooks the basis of a representative democracy. The fight for minority rights always faces opposition, which is why we rely on elected officials. Giving a different — and small — group something the majority already has should not always face a veto from the “haves.”
Meanwhile, New Hampshire Gov. John Lynch is deciding whether to veto or sign the state’s marriage bill. “''I'm going to talk to legislators and I'm going to talk to the people of New Hampshire and ultimately make the best decision I can for the people of New Hampshire,'' he said. If Lynch vetoes the bill, it is unlikely that the legislature would have enough votes to override it.
The New York Times analyzes what Obama has done for LGBT rights so far, and what some advocates in the community are asking of him, including potentially nominating an out candidate for Justice Souter’s Supreme Court seat.
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
A new University of Albany poll of Latinos in New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island found that half support same-sex marriage or civil unions.
Marriage bills are advancing in New Hampshire and Maine:
In NH, the House will take a final vote today on the revised bill, which is expected to pass. Gov. John Lynch has not made it clear whether he will veto the bill or sign it.
In Maine, the House voted 89-58 to pass the marriage bill, and it must now be reconciled with the Senate version before going to Gov. John Baldacci, who has also not made it clear whether he will veto or sign.
The New York Times writes on both states’ bills and the possibility of marriage equality throughout New England.
The New York Times editorializes in favor of passing the Matthew Shepard Act.
Washington D.C.’s Council has given final approval to its bill to fully recognize same-sex marriages legally performed elsewhere. The bill is now up for U.S. Congressional review, where Congress Republicans plan to fight it.
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
Maine’s House will vote on the State’s marriage equality bill today, but even if it passes, it still faces obstacles including a likely “people’s veto” – a voter referendum that could overturn it.
The New York Times has an interesting series of commentary from a variety of sources for and against the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”
Monday, May 4, 2009
Suffolk County legislator John Cooper legally married his partner in CT last week, saying that although he would have liked to legally marry in New York, the formal recognition was important to his 29-year-long relationship.
A national equality rally drew hundreds of LGBT advocates in Philadelphia on Sunday.
Much has been written on N.C. Rep. Virginia Foxx's comments about Matthew Shepard’s murder being a "hoax" during recent debate over the federal hate crimes act, and though Washington Post columnist Kathleen Parker is right that Foxx’s comments were “not one of the GOP's brighter moments” she seriously misses the point when she asks "Does our revulsion at hate-motivated crimes justify creating special laws only for certain people?"
Parents.com’s online TV channel has a great video on same-sex parenting featuring former Pride Agenda Long Island Program Organizer Jeff Friedman, husband Andrew Zwerin and son Joshua.
Friday, May 1, 2009
Gay City News has an interview with Gov. Paterson expanding on some of his recent statements surrounding the marriage bill.
Maine’s Senate has passed the state’s marriage equality bill, which will now go to the House for a vote.
The New York Times writes on advocacy groups’ efforts to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”
Bernard Whitman, president and CEO of a public opinion polling firm, writes in Forbes that marriage for same-sex couples in all 50 states is inevitable.
Huffington Post writes on clergy leading the way for LGBT equality.