NY Governor announces plans to legalize same-sex marriage
Update: 16 April 2009, 6:15 pm EDT
"I'm introducing a bill to bring marriage equality to the state of New York," Paterson said..."
There is a lot of 'buzz' both for, and against, the legislation announced by Governor David Paterson today that would legalize same-sex marriage in New York State.
Paterson, who is black, framed the issue in sweeping terms, invoking abolitionists Frederick Douglass and Harriet Beecher Stowe and drawing a parallel between the fight to eliminate slavery in the 1800s to the current effort to allow gay marriage.
"Rights should not be stifled by fear. What we should understand is that silence should not be a response to injustice. And that if we take not action, we will surely lose," Paterson said.
Paterson said gay and lesbian couples are denied as many as 1,350 civil protections -- such as health care and pension rights -- because they cannot marry.
Gay marriage is now legal in four states, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Vermont and Iowa.
At the same time Paterson was to announce his proposal, Sen. Ruben Diaz of the Bronx, an opponent of same-sex marriage, planned to meet with religious leaders to discuss how to block the bill.
Diaz, who is an evangelical pastor, said his meeting in the Bronx was to inform Hispanics, Catholics, evangelicals and others opposed to same-sex marriage of their options to prevent the bill's passage.
Diaz also said it is "disrespectful" of Paterson to introduce the legislation in the same week that Catholics celebrated the installation of New York City Archbishop Timothy Dolan.
Paterson attended the ceremony Wednesday at St. Patrick's Cathedral.
"I think it's a laugh in the face of the new archbishop," Diaz said Thursday before the start of his meeting. "The Jews just finished their holy week. The Catholics just received the new archbishop. The evangelical Christians just celebrated Good Friday and resurrection. He comes out to do this at this time? It's a challenge the governor is sending to every religious person in New York and the time for us has come for us to accept the challenge."
Update: 6:15 pm EDT
WKBW-TV Buffalo, NY, reported on it's 11:00 news that its WEB POLL reflects 64% are in favor of legalizing same-sex marriage in New York State, while 36% are opposed.
The following is an excerpt from an article at the site titled, 'New Legislation for Same Sex Marriages':
"The assembly has already made its statement in support of gay marriage, and now the question will fall to the senate what will they do," said State Assemblyman Sam Hoyt.
"I think it will be a very close vote in the senate, but I still think it is a couple of votes shy of passage," said State Senator George Maziarz.
Maziarz, who says he would vote no, questions the Governor's timing.
"He talks about this hot button social issue in order to divert attention away from his disastrous budget," added Maziarz.
"The Governor, having passed his budget, is now focusing on legislative initiatives that are priorities for him," added Hoyt.
Timing or not, Chris Voltz, a founding member of the Pride Center of Western New York, says this is long overdue.
"We are just asking for the same rights and responsibilities. There are responsibilities that go with marriage, as well as there are rights. But if my partner were critically ill in the hospital now, I would not have access with what is going on medically with that person," said Chris Voltz."
Assemblyman Sam Hoyt co-sponsored the initial legislation introduced by former Governor Spitzer in 2007.
Watch the video broadcast, here.
New York State Governor David A. Paterson who, according to The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion, has the lowest job-approval rating in the 27 years since The Marist Poll began surveying public opinion of governors, will announce plans on Thursday to introduce legislation to legalize same-sex marriage.
Mr. Paterson’s move, which he first signaled last week after Vermont became the fourth state to allow gay and lesbian couples to wed, reflects the governor’s desire to press the issue with lawmakers in Albany as other states move ahead with efforts to grant more civil rights to homosexuals.
The action in Vermont, where state legislators overrode Gov. Jim Douglas’s veto of a bill legalizing same-sex marriage, came less than a week after the Iowa Supreme Court granted same-sex couples the right to marry.
Mr. Paterson has said in recent days that the State Legislature should move ahead now with the legislation regardless of whether it can muster enough votes. His reasoning, which some gay rights advocates have challenged, is that New York should make a statement that it is committed to treating same-sex couples the same way it treats opposite-sex couples.
The announcement will take place at 10 a.m. on Thursday at Mr. Paterson’s office in Midtown Manhattan, said people who were briefed on the governor’s plans but who asked not to be identified because they did not want to upstage the governor.