Pressure grows on Cuomo and Senate for vote on marriage in New York

First, an update and context from Paul Schindler at Gay City News:

With just five weeks left in the state legislative calendar –– and Governor Andrew Cuomo committed to getting a marriage equality bill enacted before senators and assemblymembers head home on June 20 –– advocates are stepping up their efforts to move at least six senators from the undecided or no column to a yes.

On May 17, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and out lesbian City Council Speaker Christine Quinn traveled to Albany to lobby on behalf of the legislation (see related story by Simon Garron-Caine), which was introduced last week in the Assembly by out gay Upper West Side Democrat Daniel O’Donnell but has yet to be submitted to the Senate.

The governor’s response to O’Donnell filing his bill –– which has passed the Assembly on three occasions since 2007 –– created a stir, with some questioning whether Cuomo was qualifying his insistence all year that he wanted to get the job done during the Legislature’s regular session.

“This has never been about a vote in the Assembly, primarily,” Cuomo said, when asked why a bill had not yet been filed in the Senate. “The Assembly has passed it before; we expect they will pass it again. The question really is what’s going to happen in the Senate.”

Yes. That is the question. And, the Governor, who has taken over the marriage equality campaign operation, better find out — and deliver. The coalition, “New Yorkers United for Marriage” is run by Jennifer Cunningham, “who is close to the governor and has advised his campaigns. Ms. Cunningham and her firm, SKD Knickerbocker, will oversee the coalition’s media campaign and political strategy.”

An editorial in today’s New York Times, They Need to be Counted, also calls for a vote:

Mr. Bloomberg went to Albany to press Senate Republicans to vote to legalize same-sex marriage. He warned that “the longer the Senate obstructs marriage equality, the heavier the price they will pay not only in the history books, but at the polls.” And he promised to put his cash and clout behind any senator who backed the legislation “no matter where they stand on any other issue.”

We hope the senators were listening. We hope Gov. Andrew Cuomo was also paying close attention. Mr. Cuomo says the state’s same-sex couples should be given the right to marry, but he wants to hold back the vote until he is sure the bill will pass — a position supported by some advocates for gay rights. That’s the wrong decision.

The issue is so important that it deserves a full debate and vote in the Legislature. New Yorkers should know who will stand up for this basic civil right and who won’t.

We really, really hope Governor Cuomo is paying close attention. Again, he’s running the marriage operation. The pro-marriage groups are working within the Cuomo-created coalition. The Governor has a lot of power to make things happen. He’s already shown that over the past five months. Now, he has to deliver on marriage.

And, New Yorkers do deserve to know where the legislators stand. A growing majority of New Yorkers support marriage — and the trendline is moving more in our direction all the time.

New Yorkers should know if their leaders are going to stand with the haters like Jason McGuire “who has likened marriage equality to child abuse, blames this whole fight on Satan, and claimed that he’s in this to save people like Sen. Tom Duane and Assemblyman Danny O’Donnell (both gay) from “an eternity in Hell”” — That’s the choice right now: Equality or extreme homophobia. And, everyone should know where the elected officials stand.


On October 27, 2010, Joe was one of five bloggers who interviewed President Obama. Joe is a DC-based political consultant with over twenty-five years of experience at both the state and federal level. Joe has managed political operations and legislative efforts for both candidates and issues-based organizations. For seven years, he was the Director of State Legislation at Handgun Control, Inc. He served as that organization's first Political Director during the 2000 cycle. Joe is a graduate of the University of Maine School of Law. In addition, he has a Masters in Public Administration from Lehigh University and received his B.A. from the University of New Hampshire. Joe also has a fun dog, Petey, a worthy successor to Boomer, who got Joe through eight years of Bush and Cheney. Joe likes to think he is a world class athlete having finished the 2005 Chicago Marathon in the time of 4:10. He has completed six other marathons as well -- and is still determined to break the four hour mark.

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