Adam Polaski

NYC Mayor Bloomberg Delivers Speech Supporting Marriage Equality

Filed By Adam Polaski | May 26, 2011 2:15 PM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Politics
Tags: Bloomberg, civil rights, marriage equality, New York, same-sex marriage

File:Michael R Bloomberg.jpegThis afternoon, Michael Bloomberg, the mayor of New York City, delivered a direct and passionate speech about the importance of marriage equality in New York.

The address, delivered at The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, comes on the heels of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's fervent support for same-sex marriage, too. Bloomberg's message was similar to Cuomo's - that the State Legislature should consider the importance of same-sex marriage and vote on the issue before the end of the legislative session in June.

Bloomberg drew parallels between the gay rights movement and historic American movements, including civil rights and women's suffrage. He said:

Throughout our history, each and every generation has expanded upon the freedoms won by their parents and grandparents. Each and every generation has removed some barrier to full participation in the American dream. Each and every generation has helped our country take another step on the road to a more perfect union for all our citizens. That is the arc of American history. That is the march of freedom. That is the journey that we must never stop traveling. And that is the reason we are here today. The next great barrier standing before our generation is the prohibition on marriage for same-sex couples.

"We have come a long way since Stonewall," he remarked, pointing to that event as a catalyst for the gay rights movement and a reason that New York, where the push for equality began, should stand up for marriage equality. He said:

The question for every New York State lawmaker is: Do you want to be remembered as a leader on civil rights? Or an obstructionist? On matters of freedom and equality, history has not remembered obstructionists kindly. Not on abolition. Not on women's suffrage. Not on workers' rights. Not on civil rights. And it will be no different on marriage rights.

He also spoke specifically about religious arguments against same-sex marriage:

I understand the desire by some to seek guidance from their religious teachings. But this is not a religious issue. It is a civil issue. And that is why, under the bill proposed in Albany, no church or synagogue or mosque would be required to perform or sanction a same-sex wedding - as is the case in every state that has legalized marriage equality. Some faith communities would perform them; others would not. That is their right. I have enormous respect for religious leaders on both sides of the issue, but government has no business taking sides in these debates - none.
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He ended forcefully and passionately, playing to the crowd's emotions and reminding them of our country's commitment to equality:

In our democracy, near equality is no equality. Government either treats everyone the same, or it doesn't. And right now, it doesn't.

Tonight, two New Yorkers who are in a committed relationship will come home, cook dinner, help their kids with their homework and turn in for the night. They want desperately to be married - not for the piece of paper they will get. Not for the ceremony or the reception or the wedding cake. But for the recognition that the lifelong commitment they have made to each other is not less than anyone else's and not second-class in any way. And they want it not just for themselves - but for their children. They want their children to know that their family is as healthy and legitimate as all other families.

That desire for equal standing in society is extraordinarily powerful and it has led to extraordinary advances in American freedom. It has never been defeated. It cannot be defeated. And on marriage equality, it will not be defeated.

Read the full speech here.

img src (Bloomberg) and src (Rings)


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Good for him!

But let's be clear - he's the reason why marriage has happened in New York. He raised a shit-ton of money for Republicans - the ones who are opposing marriage currently. So he can castigate lawmakers about being on the wrong side of history all he wants, but he's the one giving them the cash to continue doing so.

This is newsworthy, indeed! A politician delivers a speech on an issue! A man who has attacked working New Yorkers and the poor and homeless, who attacks the public education system by appointing his anti-teacher and anti-union corporate buddies to positions, who, as a billionaire, gets tax breaks while the services of HIV+ and AIDS patients and queer youth (hell, name your group) are slashed says some pretty words and a few of us queers perk our ears up.

Is there ANY politician who doesn't deliver a speech written by someone else "forecefully" or "passionately"? Allow me to be a journalist for a moment and ask some tough questions. Mayor Bloomberg, when is the next election? Mayor Bloomberg, what projects are you pushing that need support from various constituencies you've shat upon in the past? Mayor Bloomberg, who immediately benefits from your speech?

Seriously, lip service is NOT progress or even worthy of reportage. It's 2011, not 1972. I love Sally Field but "he likes us, he really really likes us" should not become our chant. Given that MILLIONS of people (even LGBT people! are pissed the hell off at Wall Street, of whom Mr. Bloomberg is not only representative of but one of, I think it would a step forward for real live LGBT people to join with the rest of the country in opposing Mr. Bloomberg and his ilk instead looking to them for leadership. The way he and his Wall Street buddies are making out with our cash, he should be paying for all our weddings and sending us to Tahiti for our honeymoons and he'd still have money leftover to clear snow next Winter.

Yawn. When will queers stop wagging their tails when rich politicians deliver pretty words about equality?

Andy Humm Wants Everyone To Know Just How Anti-LGBT Bloomberg Actually Is
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Bloomberg has been asked by reporters if he will stop donating to Senators who oppose this bill and he has refused, saying he is not “single issue.” So while he has tried to position himself as a champion of marriage equality and to characterize it as the most important civil rights issue of our time, he has in fact been and continues to be the biggest impediment to the bill that would open New York’s marriage bureaus to gay couples.

… Republicans are indeed a dying breed in New York, but they were able to regain their majority in the New York State Senate in 2010 long past their expiration date in this state primarily through the infusion of millions of dollars in personal donations from Mike Bloomberg. (There are some anti-gay Democrats in the Senate, too. Several have been replaced with pro-gay votes since the 2009 vote. But ALL of the Republicans voted against marriage equality.)

In 2005, another grotesque spectacle. New York State Justice Doris Ling-Cohan ordered Bloomberg to start providing marriage licenses to gay couples who wanted them. Bloomberg was in the midst of a mayoral campaign and was worried about a primary challenge from a conservative Republican. So he announced that he would appeal the judge’s order to “get clarity” from the courts. He insists that he HAD to make the appeal which we all know is a big lie. California Attorney General Jerry Brown refused to appeal Judge Walker’s decision overturning Prop 8. And now President Obama is refusing to defend the constitutionality of DOMA. No Democrat running for mayor at that time would have appealed the decision… if Bloomberg had not appealed, all other cases could have been dropped and gay couples from all over the world would still be able to legally marry in New York City.

… Bloomberg did sign a transgender rights bill in 2002. Since then, he has vetoed and obstructed virtually every piece of pro-gay legislation that has come before him. He vetoed a school anti-bullying bill, called it “silly,” and when the Council overrode his veto he ordered his Department of Education not to enforce it. Only recently has he introduced, under pressure, some form of anti-bullying program in the schools. We even get “Respect for All Week” every year now. A whole week!

… Bloomberg also vetoed legislation that would have required city contractors to provide domestic partner benefits as San Francisco and other cities do. When he was overridden by the Council, he went to court and won the right not to enforce the law.

… Bloomberg broke the progressive boycott of the anti-gay St. Patrick’s Day Parade in New York and now defends City funding for three private, religious St. Patrick’s Day Parades in the boroughs outside Manhattan in direct contravention of City law on the use of taxpayer funds for solely religious purposes.

… Bloomberg fancies himself a big promoter of public health and has even banned smoking in City parks. But HIV rates have risen during his administration and he steadfastly refuses to reinstate condom lessons in classrooms that were banned in the Giuliani era. This guy has a public health school named after him at Johns Hopkins and he acts as if he doesn’t understand the need for explicit AIDS education for young people who are the prime group contracting HIV today, especially gay youth of color. And if you are waiting for the integration of LGBT issues into school curricula in a system under sole mayoral control in New York, it ain’t happening under Bloomberg.

— Andy Humm, gay journalist and activist continues his campaign to discredit NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s LGBT-cred after his marriage equality speech this last week.