Wednesday, March 12, 2008

New York's new Governor is a longtime ally of the LGBT community

Now that Eliot Spitzer has resigned as governor of New York and we prepare to welcome a new governor, LGBT New Yorkers might be wondering: “who is David Paterson and where does he stand on important issues facing our community?”

Today the Pride Agenda put out the following statement about our new Governor:

“David Paterson’s leadership is a story of commitment to civil liberties and human rights. He believes in equality and justice for all New Yorkers and has demonstrated this time and time again in both words and actions.

He has been a strong and consistent friend of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community ever since he was elected to public office in 1985. He worked hard as a State Senator to help pass hate crimes legislation in 2000 and, in his first weeks as Senate Minority Leader, worked to make sure that there were enough Democratic votes to pass the Sexual Orientation Non-Discrimination Act (SONDA) in 2002.

We are excited to begin working with him as Governor.”

Our community will continue to have an ally and a friend in the Governor of New York--one who has been a strong supporter of all of our key issues and one that is committed to winning a pro-LGBT majority in the State Senate. Our priorities remain the same and our work moves ahead--and I am as optimistic as ever about our future successes.

David Paterson has a long record of support for LGBT New Yorkers. Not only has the Pride Agenda endorsed him many times in his elections to the State Senate, he has been an active supporter as Senate Minority Leader and Lieutenant Governor of the issues that are before us today, including: funding for the health and human services needs of LGBT New Yorkers, safe schools for LGBT youth, statewide non-discrimination protections based upon gender identity and expression, and marriage equality and family protections. In 2002, during the vote on SONDA, he supported an amendment that would have added gender identity and expression protections. And last year in the hours before the historic Assembly vote on the marriage bill, Lt. Gov. Paterson was on the Assembly floor personally urging lawmakers to pass the bill.

He spoke to our community as Senate Minority Leader at Equality and Justice Day in Albany in 2006 and has appeared before groups of our supporters at other times speaking candidly and from the heart about our lives and how we are just as much a part of the state as anyone else.

There's a lot of work to do in 2008--and we should be happy to have a Governor who is on our side and won't hesitate to move our issues forward.

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