Friday, April 15, 2011

Marriage opponents making mischief in NY

Post by Executive Director Ross Levi

Our foes are at it again, making mischief in New York State.

The well-coffered National Organization for Marriage (NOM) is telling their supporters, “Two years ago, your phone calls and emails helped block same–sex marriage in New York.” Local extremist organization New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms sent an email claiming that “God turned the hearts of our legislators in December 2009 when ‘gay marriage’ was defeated in the State Senate 38-24, surely He can do it again!”

We can’t let their distortions drown out the truth of our lives to our state senators. Please take a moment and contact them TODAY. Legislators often tell us they need to hear from our side more. We know they’re paying attention. Use our action center to easily send an email to your senator.

As the stunning and inspiring about-face by former NOM acolyte Louis Marinelli proves, our staunchest opponents can and do change when they get to know LGBT people and their supporters. As first reported on Good As You, the leader of NOM’s summer tour that stopped in Albany revealed “the lesbian and gay people whom I made a profession out of opposing became real people.”

The same can happen for your senator when they consistently hear from marriage supporters like you through email, by phone and through advocacy visits from over a thousand New Yorkers at once during Equality & Justice Day on Monday, May 9. Tell your senator you want marriage TODAY.

Ross D. Levi
Executive Director
Empire State Pride Agenda

PS – As you read this NOM’s Maggie Gallagher is testifying before Congress about why loving same-sex couples don’t deserve marriage. Help counter their insidious efforts in New York State and send a message to your state senator right away.

Monday, April 11, 2011

N.Y. Marriage Approval at Record High

A poll conducted in early April by the Siena Research Institute shows a record 58% of New York voters now favor marriage equality. This number represents a slight increase from a January Siena poll that showed approval at 57%. Our executive director, Ross Levi, made the following statement on the poll:
“Today’s Siena poll results are yet another indication of ever-increasing support in New York for allowing loving, committed same-sex couples to marry. State legislators who have not supported marriage equality in the past should take note that New Yorkers – including nearly two thirds of suburban voters and a majority of upstate and Catholic voters – clearly believe in fairness and equality for their LGBT family, friends, neighbors and colleagues.”
The data also indicate suburban areas have the highest levels of support, with 64% of voters favoring legislation that would extend marriage benefits to same-sex couples.
The poll follows Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s announcement that he expects a Senate vote on the marriage bill before the session ends in June. This only adds to the mounting pressure for the state’s legislators to pass the law, which is now supported by well over a majority of voters. The Pride Agenda is hard at work on the ground organizing support to ensure that if a marriage bill comes to a vote this session, that the vote will be successful.
On May 9, the Pride Agenda will hold its Equality & Justice Day in Albany, once again giving constituents the opportunity to talk to their legislators about the issues facing the community. Join us May 9 and let your voice be heard.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Making Dignity for All Students a Reality

Thanks to you we passed a landmark piece of legislation last year to protect all students, including lesbian, gay, bisexual and for the first time transgender youth, from bullying, discrimination and harassment. Now it’s time to put that law into action. Today the State Education Department takes an important step in implementing the Dignity for All Students Act. They are convening a statewide task force consisting of a wide range of stakeholders including teachers, students, parents, school administrators, advocates and state and local education officials to develop policies that aim to make schools harassment- and discrimination-free environments. The Pride Agenda is a member of that task force.

This is where the rubber hits the road. Now we need you to help make sure the anti-bullying law is implemented in YOUR community. Passing laws is only part of the battle. One thing you can do to make sure our government knows we’re watching is to come to Albany and personally thank the overwhelming majority of legislators who voted for Dignity. Register for Equality & Justice Day on Monday, May 9.

This year’s Equality & Justice Day will include workshops about how to get involved in the work of actually implementing the anti-bullying in your community. You will also meet other proud New Yorkers from across the state who care about school safety and student rights.

The Pride Agenda had been working on Dignity for All Students for almost a decade before the law finally passed, and the LGBT community in New York is all too aware that our work is far from over. Much needs to be done before we can claim more legislative victories like this one, from marriage to a law finally protecting the most basic of civil rights for transgender New Yorkers. We’re on the cusp of equality, but if we want to see more progress this year, each and every pro-LGBT New Yorker needs to stand up and speak out. Sign up today.