Civil rights activists are hopeful as New York Governor David Paterson introduced a piece of legislation last week to legalize same-sex marriage in New York. Former Governor Eliot Spitzer introduced the same legislation in 2007, which passed in the state House but died in the state Senate. Widespread support throughout the state makes supporters hopeful.
According to the New York Times, in introducing the legislation, Gov. Paterson “invoked the abolitionist movement of the 1800s, the writings of Harriet Beecher Stowe and the Supreme Court’s Dred Scott decision to argue that New York had neglected civil rights for gays and lesbians for too long. “I’m putting a stop to it,” he said. “We have a duty to make sure equality exists for everyone.””
Prominent state lawmakers are backing Governor Patterson in support, such as New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and state Senator Thomas Duane. The legislation does face some opposition, however, particularly from the Roman Catholic Church.
The law would grant same-sex couples the 1300 to 1400 rights that don’t exist unless a couple is married. If the legislation passes, New York will become the fifth state in the United States to legalize same-sex marriage, with Vermont, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Iowa. We are encouraged by the support this bill has received throughout New York and hope that it moves through the state legislature quickly.