Same-sex marriage (SSM) in New York
2009: SSM bill introduced to Assembly
2009-MAR-25: New York City officials support SSM bill:
New York City Mayor Bloomberg attended the annual dinner of the Lesbian,
Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center. He said that he stands ready
to promote same-sex marriage in the Legislature, but doesn't know when the time
will be right for the bill's introduction. He said:
"We see that the tide is turning, that support is mounting. Make no
mistake, the time will come ... and we will pass this bill. ... I don't know
whether it's more likely or not [this year]. If they consider a bill, I think
they should pass it, and I would be happy to testify for it."
The Republican Party has controlled the state Senate in the past and
successfully blocked same-sex marriage. However, the Democrats are now in power.
City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, believes that the tide is turning in
favor of marriage equality. She said:
"Everything's different this year in a way that I think is very positive
for the movement of the bill. When we get the green light from our leaders in
the [state] Senate that it's the right time to go, he [Mayor Bloomberg] and I
will be up there." 1
A New York Daily News poll asked their website visitors how they stood
on gay marriage. The term "gay marriage" is a misnomer. Most same-sex marriages
involve two gays or two lesbians. But there are also same-sex marriages between
a gay or lesbian and a bisexual; others involve two bisexuals.
||64% chose: "I'm all for it. Love is love, and who am I to discriminate?"
||27% chose: "I am strongly against it. Marriage is between a man and a
||8% chose: "I'm against it though I support civil unions."
||1% were unsure.
The Daily News is a New York City newspaper. Results may not be typical of
New York State as a whole.
2009-MAR-25: Senator Schumer reverses stance on SSM:
Senator Charles Schumer (D). long an opponent of same-sex marriage, now
supports it. At a meeting in a Manhattan restaurant, he said that he agreed with
the repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act (1966). He also released a
statement on SSM:
"I have thought long and hard about it. I have always believed that one of
the great traits in America is we seek equality and should always strive to
achieve it. We may not have been ready in 1996 when this issue first arose in
Congress but I believe we are now." 2
2009-APR-14: Bill to legalize SSM expected:
On APR-14, Assemblymember Micah Z. Kellner, (D-Manhattan) stated that
Governor David Paterson will announce the introduction of a same-sex marriage
bill in the state Assembly. : "The governor's
office called me and asked if I would stand with the governor. I said I will be
thrilled to stand with the governor when he makes this announcement." He
noted that: "No governor in the history of New York has been at the forefront.
He realizes it is the civil rights movement of the 21st century."
Kellner continued: "We hope to have this bill passed at the end of June, at
the end of the legislative session. No one wants to bring this to the floor to
fail, it would be a huge disaster. We want to make sure that if we bring this to
the floor for a vote that it passes." 3
Kellner's New York State Assembly biography states that he:
"... is a strong champion for affordable housing, fairer government funding
formulas for New York City's public schools, mass transit and a cleaner
environment, reproductive freedom and stem cell research, marriage equality for
same-sex couples, and the rights of persons with disabilities." 4
He was diagnosed with cerebral palsy as an infant; he endured many operations
and years of physical therapy.
Governor Patterson did not confirm the expected announcement, but did state:
"There is clearly a problem in that those individuals who are gay or lesbian who
would live in a civil union are still not entitled to somewhere between 1,250
and 1,300 civil protections [given to married couples]. "We
would like to try to address that at some point in the near future." 3
Bruce Anderson, interim executive director of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual &
Transgender Community Center, said it's "...high time that we have the
opportunity to discuss this in Albany. We have waited very long."
Senate Majority Leader Malcolm Smith, (D-Queens), said that he will not
schedule a vote until it has enough support to pass.
State Sen. Ruben Diaz Sr., (D- Bronx) is one of the few Democrat who opposes same-sex marriage. He
criticized Paterson, saying the bill would embolden Republicans and cost
Democrats seats in the Senate.
Sen. Thomas Duane, supports marriage quality. He praised the governor for
planning to introduce the measure and predicted it would ultimately be approved by the
The New York Daily News polled visitors to their website. On
2009-APR-15, 63% supported what they call "gay marriage." 37% are opposed.
2009-APR-16: Governor Paterson announced
introduction of bill:
As expected, Governor David Paterson announced that he will introduce a bill
in the state legislature to legalize SSM in New York state. He said:
"The time has come to act. The time has come for leadership. The time has
come to bring marriage equality to the state of New York. ... Too many loving
families right here in New York state have not received legal recognition they
actually deserve. We have an honor and we have a duty to make sure equality
exists for everyone." 6
According to Reuters, he also commented on the timing of the bill:
"Anyone that has ever experienced degradation or intolerance would
understand the solemn duty and how important it actually is. This is a civil
rights issue. Civil rights don't wait for the right time." 7
He said that the law would give same-sex couples the 1,300 to 1,400 rights
currently given automatically to opposite-sex couples when they marry. He
appears to be in error on this number. Married couples currently receive on the
order of 1,050 federal rights and a few hundred state rights. The federal DOMA
law prevents married same-sex couples from receiving the federal marriage
rights. So the New York state law would not bring marital equity to same-sex
couples; they would only receive about a quarter of the rights that opposite-sex
Michael Bloomberg, mayor of New York City, was present at the announcement.
"New Yorkers pride themselves on their ability to practice their individual
freedoms, and that includes the right to say what you believe, to practice your
own faith and to love whomever you want, and it's time for this state to take
the next step and ensure the rights of same-sex couples to marry whom they
State Senator Thomas Duane will sponsor the bill in the state Senate. He
"I know that Gov. Paterson is going to roll up his sleeves, and he's going to
get this done, and we're going to make same-sex marriage a reality in this
state. ... I absolutely look forward to standing with you, governor, when you
sign this wonderful piece of legislation into law." 6
As has become customary in bills of this type, it
will include a clause protecting the rights of clergypersons to discriminate
against same-sex couples by refusing to marry them.
The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above
essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.
Adam Lisberg, "Mayor Bloomberg urges New York State to pass bill to allow
gay marriage," New York Daily News, 2009-MAR-26, at:
Jessica Geen, "New York Senator's U-turn on gay marriage," Pink News,
"New York governor to propose legalizing same-sex marriage," CNN,
"Biography: Assemblymember Micah Kellner, 65th Assembly District," at:
Glenn Blain, "Gov. David Paterson to introduce gay marriage bill to New York
state legislature this week," Daily News, 2009-APR-14, at:
Laurie Segall, "New York governor to push same-sex marriage bill," CNN,
"NY state governor introduces gay marriage bill," Reuters, 2009-APR-16, at:
Copyright © 2009 by Ontario Consultants on Religious
Originally written: 2009-APR-15
Latest update: 2009-MAY-13
Author: B.A. Robinson