It’s Up to You, New York!

Apart from being brilliant, beautiful and incredibly talented, I am also somewhat psychic. (And modest! Did I mention that?)

When this story came out a few weeks ago, my PUMA ears perked up.

At a dinner event last night with gay activists, Senator Charles Schumer—a longtime supporter of civil unions, but not gay marriage—officially endorsed gay marriage and promised to work to repeal the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which was signed by Bill Clinton in 1996. In a statement released after the event, Schumer said, “It’s time. Equality is something that has always been a hallmark of America and no group should be deprived of it.”

Gay rights advocates are now hoping Schumer will use his considerable clout to win over lawmakers in the State Senate and make gay marriage legal in New York. Describing Schumer’s impact on undecided politicians, Alan Van Capelle of the Empire State Pride Agenda tells NY1, “Knowing that Senator Schumer will campaign for them if they feel like they are in a difficult spot for reelection, I think matter [sic].” And openly gay City Council Speaker Christine Quinn says, “For him to stand up and say that he’s going to make sure everyone is fully equal under the law is really remarkable. And political support like that, you really can’t even measure it, it is so significant.”

As happy as this announcement had made me, I still wondered what had caused Schumer’s sudden reversal. But then I read that after Kirsten Gillibrand was appointed the new junior Senator from New York,  a significant dynamic had shifted. The new Senator was pro-gay marriage, and quite unashamedly so. The former junior Senator, Hillary Clinton, was not.

As a supporter of civil unions, Clinton gave Schumer cover for his position; but once she was gone, he was the only major politician left in New York to oppose gay marriage. And Schumer didn’t get where he is by being a dummy. I put two and two together, and told our very own GaryChapelHill that New York was going to be next.

So, I can’t say I was surprised to hear this delightful news:

NEW YORK (Reuters) – New York Governor David Paterson will introduce legislation on Thursday to make gay marriage legal, but the move faces an uncertain vote in the state’s Senate.

If the bill passes, New York would follow Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont and Iowa in legalizing gay marriage.

Okay, I can’t help it, I have to interrupt here. (All non-citizens of the People’s Republic of New York, please skip this paragraph.) My fellow Noo Yawkuz, that paragraph was just EMBARRASSING. We’re FIFTH. We’re FIFTH?! Behind FLYOVER COUNTRY???? Un-freaking-acceptable! Ya get me?

All righty then. Let’s keep going.

“The timing was always right,” said Paterson, a Democrat — who ordered all New York state agencies a year ago to recognize out-of-state gay marriages. “It’s just who is willing to take that step, and I am.”

Gay marriage has broad support in the Democratic-controlled State Assembly, where it passed in a vote of 85 to 61 in 2007. [Note: That was former Democratic Governor Eliot “I can’t keep it in my pants” Spitzer’s initiative.] It was never put to a vote in the Senate while it was controlled by Republicans.

While the Democrats now hold a Senate majority for the first time in more than 40 years, it is slim — 32 to 30 — and at least one Democratic senator, Ruben Diaz, opposes gay marriage. He says the issue should be decided by a voter referendum.

So, New York, if the Senate poops out, it looks like it’s up to you. Come on, come through – and do the right thing for all the loving same-sex couples here in the Empire State.

Tell it like it is, Liza!


2 responses to “It’s Up to You, New York!

  1. It’s definitely strange to come after Iowa. Iowa! But better late than never!

    A friend of mine wrote this gay marriage post on his opera/ballet blog last month. He thinks legalizing gay marriage is a great way to boost the economy!—nationwide-o.html

  2. Oh yes, that is a great link! Thanks for putting it back up, DYB.