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Religious Tolerance logo

Same-sex marriage (SSM) in New York State

Activities during 2010-OCT to 2011-MAR

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Gubernatorial candidates split on same-sex marriage (SSM):

With significant support from the Tea Party, Carl Paladino (R) became the Republican candidate for governor of New York State in the 2010 campaign. He expressed strong opposition to equal rights for lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgender persons and transsexuals (LGBT), including the right to marry. He is a Roman Catholic and accepted his church's teachings that LGBTs are mentally disordered .

Three weeks before the election, on 2010-OCT-10, he addressed an Orthodox Jewish gathering at a synagogue in Brooklyn's Williamsburg section. During his talk, he criticized his opponent, former Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, for taking his teenaged daughters to view the gay pride parade in New York City. He said that children who later in life choose to marry people of the opposite sex and raise families would be "... much better off and much more successful. ...I don't want them to be brainwashed into thinking that homosexuality is an equally valid and successful option."

The written version of his talk included the sentence: "There is nothing to be proud of in being a dysfunctional homosexual." Apparently, he found this too hateful and so he skipped it.

During the evening after his speech, he issued an ambiguous statement saying:

"In my speech today to Orthodox Jewish leaders in New York City, I noted my opposition to gay marriage, inspired by my Catholic beliefs. I also oppose discrimination of any form."

Many religious and political liberals regard the lack of marriage equality for LGBTs to be discrimination.

On OCT-12, Paladino apologized for using such harsh words as "brainwashed." However, he renewed his opposition to same-sex marriage. His new stance lost him the support of some Orthodox Jewish groups. Orthodox Rabbi Yehuda Levin, who represents an umbrella organization of ultra-Orthodox clerics, withdrew his support for Paladino and accused him of bowing to political pressure. More details.

His main was opponent, Andrew Cuomo (D). He attended the Empire State Pride Agenda's fall dinner where he said:

"I don't want to be the governor who just proposes marriage equality. I don't want to be the governor who lobbies for marriage equality. I don't want to be the governor who fights for marriage equality. I want to be the governor who signs the law that makes equality a reality in the state of New York." 1

Andrew Cuomo won the election.

Joe Solmonese, president of the pro-LGBT group Human Rights Campaign® (HRC) said:

"Voters clearly responded to candidates who ran on a pro-equality platform with at least three seats switching from marriage equality opponents to supporters. The victories of Governor-Elect Cuomo and these new fair-minded State Senators are great news for New Yorkers who value equality. ... As the dust settles on the election, the focus will move from the ballot box to the state capitol where HRC along with our allies in New York will push to see a marriage bill passed out of both chambers,” added Solmonese. “We look forward to working with strong marriage equality supporter Governor-Elect Cuomo to end discrimination against same-sex couples in New York once and for all." 2

After the votes were counted, Democrats retained control of the House. However, control of the Senate was initially unclear; an even split of 31 Republicans and 31 Democrats was possible. The constitution authorizes the Lt. Governor to cast the deciding vote when a tie occurs. However, there is a debate whether he had the authority to vote on assigning committee leadership assignments. When the smoke cleared, the Republicans gained control of the Senate with 32 seats compared with 30 for the Democrats.

The New York Daily News held an informal poll of visitors to their web site on same-sex marriage. 57% supported same-sex marriage; 42% were opposed and 1% were unsure. This is surprisingly close to the results of formal polls. 1

References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. Celeste Katz, "Cuomo tells gay activists he will legalize same-sex marriage, make 'equality a reality' in New York," New York Daily News, 2010-OCT-14, at:
  2. "Initial New York Election Returns Indicate Momentum for Marriage Equality," Human Rights Campaign, 2010-NOV-03, at:
  3. Elizabeth Alesse, "Cuomo meets with same-sex marriage advocates," State of Politics blog, 2011-MAR-09, at:
  4. Joseph Spector, "Same-Sex Marriage Advocates Hedge On Senate Vote, The Journal News, 2011-MAR-09, at:

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 Home > Homosexuality > Same-sex marriage > Menu > NY > here

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Copyright © 2010 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2010-OCT
Latest update: 2010-NOV-11
Author: B.A. Robinson

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