Post by Intern Geoff Montes
On Friday night, history was made as the New York State Senate voted 33-29 to extend the right to marry to loving, same-sex couples across the state, ending a campaign the Pride Agenda has been working on for over ten years. New York became the sixth and largest state in the U.S. to offer such protections, instantly recharging the national dialogue over marriage equality. The momentous victory was achieved in large part due to Governor Cuomo’s unrelenting strategy for the legislation, part of which was building a coalition of statewide LGBT rights groups, which included the Empire State Pride Agenda, Freedom to Marry, Human Rights Campaign, Marriage Equality New York and Log Cabin Republicans, all of whom joined the Governor and hundreds of everyday New Yorkers to march Sunday in New York City Pride.
Immediately following the vote, crowds descended upon West Village landmark the Stonewall Inn, widely regarded as the birthplace of the gay rights movement in 1969. Thousands celebrated the passage of the historic legislation well into the night in a joyous and fitting start to New York City’s pride weekend. Similar revelry occurred at community gatherings across the state where Pride Agenda staff and board joined other LGBT activists to celebrate.
The 42nd annual New York City Pride March took place on Sunday, with organizers estimating as many as 2 million spectators. Gov. Andrew Cuomo kicked off the parade, receiving roaring cheers and proudly marching alongside girlfriend Sandra Lee, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, and Mayor Michael Bloomberg, flanked by representatives of New Yorkers United for Marriage.
Kicking off Pride weekend, the Pride Agenda also joined the Transgender Day of Action as hundreds of supporters gathered and marched through Foley Square in Lower Manhattan demanding equal rights. Our own Jonathan Lang also spoke at a press conference Friday announcing a campaign for homeless LGBT youth.