Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Victories for equality and justice -- You made it happen

The LGBT community worked hard to have our voices heard in this election.

We're thrilled to report victories for our statewide endorsements: Andrew Cuomo for Governor, Bob Duffy for Lt. Governor and Eric Schneiderman for Attorney General. At our Fall Dinner, Andrew Cuomo said that he wanted to be "the governor who makes marriage equality a reality in New York State." As Attorney General, Cuomo worked closely with the Pride Agenda to fight transgender discrimination in employment and to defend New York's policy of fully respecting the legal marriages of same-sex couples performed out of state. In Rochester, Mayor Duffy has consistently supported measures to ensure that LGBT residents have the same rights and privileges as all other city residents. As a State Senator, Eric Schneiderman has also been a tireless advocate for the rights of LGBT New Yorkers and our families, and he is committed to continuing that support and advocacy as Attorney General and just acknowledged our longtime partnership by thanking the Empire State Pride Agenda by name in his victory speech.

In addition to contributing to these statewide victories, the LGBT community played a significant role in electing pro-equality State Senators.

In particular, the elections of Democrat Tony Avella in New York's 11th Senate District, Democrat David Carlucci in the 38th Senate District and Democrat Tim Kennedy in the 58th Senate District are significant steps forward for LGBT equality and justice.

In this election, we showed candidates of all parties that when they support us, we will support them, and when they do not support us, we will hold them accountable. In fact, in the primary for the Democratic nomination in the 58th Senate District, Pride Agenda endorsed Tim Kennedy over an incumbent who had voted against marriage equality.

We sent the message to candidates running for office in our state that working toward equality for LGBT New Yorkers is not only the right thing to do, but is also politically prudent.

Finally, the victory of gay Assembly candidate Harry Bronson -- our first LGBT legislator from outside of New York City -- is another reminder that voters all across New York State believe in fairness and LGBT equality. While Bronson campaigned on a wide range of issues important to his community, his election also represents another step forward for all who support equality and justice for New York's LGBT families. Having members of our community in elected office, sharing their lives with their constituents and legislative colleagues, makes an important difference in changing hearts and minds.

Along with our allies, we demonstrated that we will strongly support those who stand for equality and that we will mount serious challenges to those who do not. In the months leading up to the election, the Empire State Pride Agenda did canvassing in key districts across the state to have tens of thousands of individual conversations and to identify supporters of LGBT equality, phone banked and mailed our tens of thousands of supporters, placed paid staff and volunteers in key campaigns and initiated voter registration campaigns that signed up over 4,000 new college-aged voters.

We will continue to share our victories with you as they happen. Thank you for your work!

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