Yesterday, over 500 New Yorkers gathered in Albany for the Rally for Love and Marriage. All five coalition partners of New Yorkers United for Marriage - Empire State Pride Agenda, Marriage Equality New York, Freedom to Marry, Human Rights Campaign, and Log Cabin Republicans – came together to call on Senators to pass the marriage bill before they adjourned for the summer.
With less than 24 hours notice, our supporters descended upon Albany from all across the state to cheer on our efforts and show legislators the enthusiasm behind marriage equality. Recent national polls have shown a majority of Americans now support expanding marriage rights to all loving same-sex couples, and nearly 60% of New Yorkers believe in doing the same. Legislators, faith leaders, and ordinary New Yorkers spoke to the enthusiastic crowd about why marriage equality was important to them.
Recent LGBT ally, Senator Jim Alesi (R-Rochester) took to the stage first declaring that he was a Republican (“I was born this way” he joked) while proudly affirming his support for marriage equality. He spoke of some of the criticism he’s received for changing his vote to “yes,” but he was noticeably moved by the supportive crowd that stood before him chanting “Thank you Jim! Thank you Jim!” He wasn’t the only one of our friends in the legislature to provide inspiring words. Also present were Senators Adriano Espaillat and Tom Duane, and Assemblymembers Danny O’Donnell, Teresa Sayward, Deborah Glick, Matt Titone, Harry Bronson and Richard Gottfried.
Various faith leaders spoke with passion as well. In addition, several ordinary New Yorkers shared inspiring stories about what marriage would mean to them. The crowd cheered and sang. Smiles glistened in the sun. And New Yorkers from all corners of the state spoke with one voice for equality and love.