Friday, April 27, 2007

Spitzer introduces a marriage bill

Fulfilling a campaign promise, Gov. Spitzer this morning will introduce a bill that would make it legal for same-sex couples to marry in New York State. The bill will be given to the State Senate and Assembly at 8:00 A.M.

Eliot Spitzer is the first governor in the country to introduce such legislation.

Sen. Tom Duane is also orchestrating a meeting this morning of gay leaders and State Senators (including Senate Minority Leader Malcolm Smith). Should make for an interesting meeting.

The New York State Dept. of Civil Service will also announce today that same-sex spouses of state employees (married in jurisdictions where gay marriage is legal) will be eligible for benefits. What this basically means is that any spouse of a gay state employee who was married in Canada, Massachusetts, Spain, South Africa, Belgium or The Netherlands will now be treated like any other married, benefits-eligible spouse.

Spitzer had announced on Monday that he would introduce marriage equality legislation before the end of the current legislative session (end of June). This news also comes five days before LGBT Equality & Justice lobby day in Albany next Tuesday, May 1. More than 1,000 LGBT people and straight allies will be in the capitol to lobby for the passage of the marriage bill, along with bills that would end discrimination based on gender expression/identity and protect New York students from bias-based harassment.

See a scorecard of where NY State Senators and Assemblymembers stand on marriage here.
See a timeline of building support for marriage in the Assembly here.
Send a "thank you" to Gov. Spitzer for introducing the marriage bill here.

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