From the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force:
National Gay and Lesbian Task Force hails New York Senate's passage of marriage equality legislation
New York on cusp of becoming sixth and largest state to allow same-sex couples to marry
"This is a profoundly moving and historic moment for New York. ... This vote affirms our common humanity. It means same-sex couples will no longer have to cross state lines to marry. It means New York lives up to its reputation as a national leader. It honors New York's unique history as being the place where the modern gay rights movement sprang to life..." -- Rea Carey, Executive Director, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force
NEW YORK, June 24 -- The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force hailed the New York Senate's passage of legislation granting the freedom to marry to same-sex couples in the Empire State. The Assembly has already passed the measure, which now moves to Gov. Andrew Cuomo. With the governor's signature, New York will become the sixth and most populous state to allow same-sex couples to marry.
According to data released June 15 by the Williams Institute, extending marriage to same-sex couples in New York would impact more than 42,000 couples raising 14,000 children in the state. It would also double the percentage of the U.S. population living in states that allow same-sex couples to marry.
The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force has been working with New Yorkers United for Marriage to secure marriage equality, including assisting with nightly phone banks over the past several weeks.
Statement by Rea Carey, Executive Director, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force
"This is a profoundly moving and historic moment for New York. To finally be able to share and celebrate one's love and commitment both publicly and legally is a lifelong dream for tens of thousands of same-sex couples and their families. This vote affirms our common humanity. It means same-sex couples will no longer have to cross state lines to marry. It means New York lives up to its reputation as a national leader. It honors New York's unique history as being the place where the modern gay rights movement sprang to life 42 years ago this month at the Stonewall Inn in New York City -- a place where lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people stood up and fought back for their dignity and rightful place in society. This vote honors the spirit of all those who refused to settle for second-class status.
"We look forward to Gov. Andrew Cuomo's signature on this bill, which will make New York the sixth and largest state to grant this fundamental freedom to loving, committed same-sex couples. We thank each of the lawmakers who stood up for fairness, and we applaud the governor for his tremendous leadership in making marriage equality a key priority. We are pleased and proud to be a supporter of New Yorkers United for Marriage, which has doggedly organized to secure this victory. All shared a vision for equality, pursued it with clarity and persistence, and won."
To learn more about the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, visit our website and follow us on Twitter: @TheTaskForce.
The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Action Fund, founded in 1974 as the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, Inc., works to build the grassroots political power of the LGBT community to win complete equality. We do this through direct and grassroots lobbying to defeat anti-LGBT ballot initiatives and legislation and pass pro-LGBT legislation and other measures. We also analyze and report on the positions of candidates for public office on issues of importance to the LGBT community. The Task Force Action Fund is a 501(c)(4) non-profit corporation incorporated in New York. Contributions to the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Action Fund are not tax deductible.
From the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation:
GLAAD APPLAUDS NY STATE SENATE VOTE IN SUPPORT OF MARRIAGE EQUALITY
New York, NY, June 24, 2011 - The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), the nation's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) media advocacy and anti-defamation organization, today applauded a vote by the New York state Senate that will allow loving gay and lesbian couples to marry in the Empire State. The bill, which was approved by the state Assembly last Wednesday, will now be sent to Governor Andrew Cuomo, who has led a high-profile campaign in support of marriage equality in New York.
GLAAD has New York couples, faith leaders and marriage equality advocates ready to speak to the media about the decision. Additional resources for media are available here.
"At the heart of this vote are loving and committed New Yorkers who simply want the same thing all Americans want: the ability to take care of the people they love and to protect their families," said GLAAD's Senior Director of Programs Herndon Graddick. "Gay and lesbian New Yorkers are now one step closer to the vital legal protections that marriage affords and which all couples need.
"GLAAD applauds the work of our partners at the Empire State Pride Agenda, Marriage Equality New York, Freedom to Marry, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), Log Cabin Republicans and the couples whose personal stories have moved lawmakers to support this historic legislation," Graddick continued. "GLAAD encourages media reporting on this story to ground their coverage in the stories of the New York couples whose love and commitment is at the heart of today's decision."
GLAAD has helped several gay and lesbian couples from across the Empire State share their stories in local and national media in an effort to build support for marriage equality. In collaboration with the New Yorkers United for Marriage coalition, GLAAD has also held trainings for couples and allies that help advocates speak out more effectively on the local and national level.
The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) amplifies the voice of the LGBT community by empowering real people to share their stories, holding the media accountable for the words and images they present, and helping grassroots organizations communicate effectively. By ensuring that the stories of LGBT people are heard through the media, GLAAD promotes understanding, increases acceptance, and advances equality. For more information, please visit www.glaad.org. For the latest updates on our work, visit our Twitter and our Facebook.
From the Human Rights Campaign
History in the Making: New York To Become Seventh U.S. Jurisdiction Allowing Gay and Lesbian Couples to Marry
Governor Cuomo's leadership and unprecedented field campaign push bill over finish line
WASHINGTON - In a history making, bipartisan vote, the New York Senate today passed a widely popular marriage equality bill after the most aggressive state legislative campaign in the history of the LGBT rights movement. With Governor Cuomo's promised signature of the bill, New York will become the sixth state, plus the District of Columbia, where same-sex couples can legally marry.
"History was made today in New York. This victory sends a message that marriage equality across the country will be a reality very soon," said Joe Solmonese, president of the Human Rights Campaign.
"Governor Cuomo has shown New York and the nation what leadership looks like," added Brian Ellner, HRC's senior strategist in the state. "The bipartisan nature of the vote is compelling proof that marriage equality is increasingly an issue that unites, not divides. Legislators listened to their constituents and did the right thing."
The successful vote in the Senate comes after a strategic, coordinated and aggressive legislative advocacy effort by LGBT civil rights organizations. Working in close coordination with a tight-knit coalition, HRC's National Field Director, Marty Rouse, led one of the largest legislative advocacy efforts in New York state history and the largest field campaign ever in support of state gay rights legislation. An unprecedented 30 full-time field organizers were employed by HRC across the state and generated over 150,000 constituent contacts to targeted legislators. To reflect the deep and diverse support for marriage equality, HRC also created "New Yorkers for Marriage Equality," a video campaign that eventually featured more than 40 iconic New Yorkers ranging from President Bush's daughter Barbara Bush to Russell Simmons advocating for marriage equality (www.hrc.org/NY4marriage). HRC spent more than $1 million overall on the effort to pass marriage in New York.
"There's no doubt that this was the most unified marriage effort ever," said Solmonese. "Today's victory is made even sweeter by the fact that organizations were able to rally around a common goal, work hard and deliver a huge win for civil and human rights."
HRC was a founding member of New Yorkers United for Marriage. Coalition partners include HRC, Empire State Pride Agenda, Freedom to Marry, Marriage Equality New York, and Log Cabin Republicans. The coalition raised $2 million that it used to advocate for marriage equality.
In the past year, a number of national polls (Washington Post/ABC News, Gallup, and CNN) have shown, for the first time that a majority of the country supports marriage equality. Support for same-sex marriage has increased by 19 percentage points since 1996, according to the Pew Research Center.
For maps of marriage and relationship recognition laws in the states, please visit the Human Rights Campaign.
The Human Rights Campaign is America¹s largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against LGBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.
From Freedom to Marry:
New York Freedom to Marry Win Builds National Momentum
Number of Americans Living in States with the Freedom to Marry More Than Doubles
In a resounding win for the freedom to marry movement, the New York legislature today sent a marriage bill to Governor Cuomo's desk that, when signed, will more than double the number of Americans living in a state with the freedom to marry for all committed, loving couples.
"Winning the freedom to marry in New York truly is a transformative moment for committed couples and for our country, a triumph for love and equality under the law," said Evan Wolfson, founder and President of Freedom to Marry. "Now that we've made it here, we'll make it everywhere -- and as Americans' hearts open and minds continue to change in favor of the freedom to marry, the momentum coming from New York's giant step forward brings a nationwide end to marriage discrimination closer than ever."
The New York victory represents a number of historic firsts:
- For the first time, a Republican-led chamber, the New York State Senate, joined the Democrat-led Assembly in passing marriage legislation;
- the marriage bill was strongly championed by a governor who ran for office on his pledge to pass a bill and then campaigned steadily for it, making it one of his top priorities and committing political capital to its passage;
- a large number of America's most prominent businesses including Xerox Corporation, Alcoa, and McGraw-Hill, and the heads of Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, and Citigroup, along with corporate leaders and labor unions, including very strong leadership by SEIU 1199, urged passage of the bill;
- and numerous professional athletes, including NBA star Steve Nash, New York Rangers star Sean Avery, and New York Giants great Michael Strahan, joined the chairman of the New York Giants and owner of the New Jersey Nets in speaking out for the bill.
"This unprecedented support from Republicans, corporations, and even pro athletes demonstrates how mainstream ending the exclusion of gay and lesbian couples from marriage has become," said Wolfson. "The surge in new support and this epic win in New York add to the momentum for the work ahead: ending the cruel exclusion from marriage in other states, and overturning the so-called Defense of Marriage Act, which denies married gay and lesbian couples -- even in New York and other states that issue marriage licenses without discrimination - the safety-net of protections and responsibilities marriage brings at the federal level."
The New York freedom to marry bill passed Assembly in a 80-63 vote and then the Republican-led Senate by 33-29. With this win, the number of Americans living in states with the freedom to marry more than doubles, from 16 million to 35 million.
Freedom to Marry helped shape every front of the campaign to win marriage in New York. As a founding member of the New Yorkers United for Marriage coalition, Freedom to Marry played a key leadership role in guiding and investing in the coalition's work to win. Freedom to Marry invested over $1,000,000 in the campaign, including more than $500,000 for television, newspaper ads, and direct mail, and over $100,000 in polling, all aimed at making sure legislators heard from the couples affected, their loved ones, and the 58% of New Yorkers who support the freedom to marry.
"With the freedom to marry in New York, the nationwide majority for marriage will swell, as even more people get to see why marriage matters to same-sex couples, that gay couples, like non-gay, treasure the chance to affirm and strengthen their commitment, and that ending marriage discrimination helps families and hurts no one," said Wolfson. "We are especially grateful for Governor Cuomo's strategic and passionate leadership in advancing this bill. He worked tirelessly with Freedom to Marry and other advocates to secure the votes we needed to win. No governor has ever worked harder or more strategically to advance marriage legislation."
Freedom to Marry is the campaign to win marriage nationwide. We are pursuing our Roadmap to Victory by working to win the freedom to marry in more states, grow the national majority for marriage, and end federal marriage discrimination. We partner with individuals and organizations across the country to end the exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage and the protections, responsibilities, and commitment that marriage brings.
From Empire State Pride Agenda:
PRIDE AGENDA CELEBRATES PASSAGE OF MARRIAGE LEGISLATION
"A historic day and a victory for equality and justice," says Executive Director Ross D. Levi
Albany, NY, June 24, 2011-- The Empire State Pride Agenda, New York State's largest and oldest statewide lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) advocacy organization today celebrated the passage of marriage equality legislation.
"Love and fairness wins the day for all New Yorkers and our families. Today is a historic day and a victory for equality and justice - it is the culmination of many years of work by the Pride Agenda and others across the state," said Ross D. Levi, Executive Director of the Empire State Pride Agenda. "We are thrilled that finally all loving, committed New Yorkers will be able to make the commitment of marriage here in the Empire State."
The bill was introduced as a program bill by Governor Cuomo and passed in both the Senate and the Assembly by a bi-partisan majority.
"Today's victory didn't happen by accident or only in the last few years," said Levi. "The Pride Agenda has been working on marriage and relationship recognition since the early 2000's when polling was in the low 30's through to nearly 60% today. The bill that was passed today is a direct result of more than a decade of work on the ground, changing people's minds and opening their hearts."
"I am extraordinarily proud of the Empire State Pride Agenda's leading role in this victory," said Louis A. Bradbury, Chair of the Empire State Pride Agenda, Inc.'s Board of Directors. "On behalf of the Pride Agenda, I offer my heartfelt thanks to Governor Andrew Cuomo for putting his political capital and popularity firmly behind this issue from day one; Speaker of the Assembly Sheldon Silver for being a steadfast champion in the Assembly; the sponsor of the bill in that chamber, Assemblyman Danny O'Donnell, and the supporters in the Assembly who voted in a bi-partisan fashion for this measure four times. We also thank Senate Minority Leader John Sampson and Senator Tom Duane for carrying this bill as the lead sponsor in that chamber; Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos for allowing democracy to happen by bringing the bill to the floor; and every member of the State Senate who voted for fairness."
"Legislators listened to the will of the people, a nearly 60% super majority, who believe that granting loving, committed couples the ability to marry is the right thing New York," said Levi. "Because of our community's hard work and role in recent elections, we changed the political calculus and allowed our elected officials to vote for what they believe is right."
"The Pride Agenda has more than 20 years of experience working on issues that did not have strong public support when first introduced, " said Marla Hassner, Vice Chair of the Empire State Pride Agenda, Inc.'s Board of Directors. "We are not strangers to hard work. We know how to activate local voices to change hearts and minds, ultimately leading us to victory in achieving equality for our community."
"Today is a day to celebrate, but we must be ever vigilant in protecting this victory we've worked so hard to win," said Levi. "We need to make sure that all of our friends who voted in favor of this bill keep their seats. We cannot take this victory for granted or let it be taken away by the future vote of an anti-equality legislature."
In addition to gearing up for the 2012 elections and the need to protect supporters of the marriage legislation, the Pride Agenda will continue to advance equality and justice for LGBT New Yorkers and their families by making sure private actors like companies and unions know how to reconcile New York marriages with federal law, continuing to advocate for the Gender Expression Non Discrimination Act, working to implement the Dignity for All Students Act, and working with New York State Health and Human Services to ensure that the health needs of the LGBT community are addressed.
"Our work continues to change hearts and minds so that we can be welcomed as married people in all aspects of our lives," concluded Levi. "We need to help frame the national narrative around marriage, transgender civil rights and other LGBT issues so equality and justice do not end at our borders."
A listing of the hundreds of supporters for marriage equality including faith leaders, union leaders and business leaders is available here: http://www.prideagenda.org/marriage
A timeline of the movement for marriage equality in New York State is available.
Founded in 1990, the Empire State Pride Agenda is New York's statewide civil rights and advocacy group committed to achieving full equality and justice for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) New Yorkers and our families. The Pride Agenda fights for these priorities by: educating policymakers, elected officials and the public; building coalitions and mobilizing allies; lobbying government officials; administering a Political Action Committee; and organizing and empowering the LGBT community.
From Lambda Legal:
New York Senate Approves Marriage for Same-Sex Couples: Lambda Legal Says "Equality Prevailed"
"Love conquers all. Today our state government rose above the political fray and did the right thing for New York families."
(New York, June 24, 2011)-- Tonight, the New York Senate voted to pass the marriage equality bill introduced by Governor Andrew Cuomo, ending the exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage in New York. New York will become the sixth state in the nation, in addition to the District of Columbia, where same-sex couples have the right to marry.
Susan Sommer, Director of Constitutional Litigation at Lambda Legal, made the following statement:
"Love conquers all. Today our state government rose above the political fray and did the right thing for New York families. Equality prevailed.
"Today we celebrate with the thousands of lesbian and gay New Yorkers who will now be able to get married in their own home towns instead of traveling to do so. It takes a lot of people working together to make history. We congratulate our colleagues at Empire State Pride Agenda and our other sister organizations who formed New Yorkers United for Marriage and fought so hard for this victory, and all the activists and allies in New York who wrote letters and made phone calls. We thank Governor Cuomo for his leadership, and we are proud of the state legislators who voted for equality.
"The path to equality in New York, like in other states, has had twists and turns. In 2004, Lambda Legal brought a marriage equality lawsuit in state court (Hernandez v. Robles), and while we won an early victory at the trial court, that decision was later overturned. But we never stopped fighting for the rights of same-sex couples and their families in New York. We won legal battles to establish recognition of out-of-state marriages, and just last year, we won a high court decision protecting the parental rights of a lesbian mother.
"Equality carries momentum. Same-sex couples have the freedom to marry in two out of three of the states in the tri-state area, and it's time for New Jersey to catch up. We will soon be in New Jersey to announce the next chapter of our work to bring marriage equality to that state."
View Lambda Legal's FAQ for marriage in New York.
From the Courage Campaign:
Statement from Rick Jacobs and Adam Bink of the Courage Campaign;
New York Senate Votes to Legalize Same-Sex Marriage
Courage Campaign's Members Heavily Responsible for Pushing the Bill
"The historic vote in New York demonstrates the power of coalition," said Rick Jacobs, the chair and founder of the 700,000-member Courage Campaign. "My hat's off to the entire community that worked so closely together to win as a sign that we have grown up. Marriage in the third most populous state changes lives for New York and the nation. The real effect, though, is on legislators, judges and justices nationally and here in California. Anyone who supports the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) or opposes equality in the courts is out of step with America and with history. In states like Tennessee, the band of right-wingers that seeks to ban the word "gay," will be remembered as were their ancestors at the Scopes Monkey Trial. The time for legal discrimination ended today."
"I'm immensely proud of my home state and the thousands of Courage Campaign members who helped make this happen," said Adam Bink, Director of Online Programs for the Courage Campaign and a Western New York native. "We focused on swing votes in the Senate and our members followed up by making phone calls in support of the bill. Many of these legislators publicly cited the number of pro-equality calls they received when deciding to cast their vote to stand on the right side of history."
Courage Campaign is a multi-issue online organizing network that empowers more than 700,000 grassroots and netroots supporters to work for progressive change and full equality in California and across the country. Through a one-of-a-kind online tool called Testimony: Take A Stand, the Courage Campaign is chronicling the sights, sounds and stories of LGBT families and all who wage a daily struggle against discrimination across America. For more information about Testimony, please visit our website.
From the Log Cabin Republicans:
New York Marriage Vote a Triumph For Individual Liberty
(Washington, DC) - Log Cabin Republicans statement on the passage of marriage equality by the New York State Senate.
"History was made today tonight in the New York State Senate, and Log Cabin Republicans are proud to have played such an important role in making that history with an unprecedented coalition of allies," said Log Cabin Republicans of New York State Chairman Gregory T. Angelo. "We wish to thank our dedicated members for their diligence, persistence and patience -- it has been a long time coming, but today Republicans in the New York State Senate stood up for true conservative values: individual liberty, personal freedom and equal rights for all, and we thank them for voting on the right side of history."
"Tonight's vote in Albany represents the culmination of years of work reaching out to new allies, making the case that complete civil access to marriage is vital for our families and our freedom as Americans," said R. Clarke Cooper, Log Cabin Republicans Executive Director. "Log Cabin Republicans are proud to have been a part of the coalition which made today's vote possible, and particularly proud of the efforts of our New York membership. We are grateful for the leadership of Senators Jim Alesi and Roy McDonald, and the support of Senators Mark Grisanti and Stephen Saland, with special appreciation for for the leadership of Senate Republican Majority Leader Dean Skelos, who brought this bill to the floor and, in so doing, kept the promise he made to Log Cabin Republicans and the voters of New York State last fall. This achievement marks the first time a Republican led chamber has enacted marriage equality, we look forward building on our successes in states across the country. Log Cabin will stand with the allies who stood with us today as part of a stronger, more inclusive Republican Party."
Log Cabin Republicans is the only Republican organization dedicated to representing the interests of gay and lesbian Americans and their allies. The 30-year old organization has state and local chapters nationwide, a full-time office in Washington, DC, a federal political action committee and state political action committees.
New York State Legislature Approves Marriage Equality Act, Extends Marriage Rights to Gay and Lesbian Couples
GetEQUAL Celebrates Civil Rights Win While Urging President Obama to Follow Suit
NEW YORK - Today, the New York State Senate approved the Marriage Equality Act, becoming the first Republican-controlled legislature to pass a vote extending marriage rights to gay and lesbian couples. Previously approved in the New York State Assembly, the legislation passed in the Senate 33-29, after an extension of the Senate's legislative session.
As the sixth -- and largest -- state in the country to vote in favor of marriage equality, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) advocacy organizations acknowledge New York's legislature for reaching this historic milestone.
"Today, New York has agreed with the majority of this country's population that supports equal marriage rights for all," said Robin McGehee, director of GetEQUAL, a national LGBT civil rights organization emphasizing direct action and nonviolent civil disobedience. "Though we were disappointed by the President's lip service to our community yesterday, we're thrilled that New York legislators understand the vital importance of recognizing the fundamental humanity of LGBT Americans."
National concerns such as transgender-inclusive employment non-discrimination, full and open access to public accommodations, safe schools, equal access to health care, and open military service remain key issues to the LGBT community, and GetEQUAL continues to advocate for the full federal equality of LGBT Americans while celebrating this win.
With news of today's victory, LGBT advocacy groups are now urging President Obama to follow New York's lead and declare his support for marriage equality. Obama has yet to publicly state that he favors marriage rights for gay and lesbian couples, stating instead that his position on marriage equality is "evolving." GetEQUAL hopes that, through public pressure, President Obama will begin to understand that he's falling behind the majority of Americans who see marriage equality as a key civil right for LGBT Americans.
GetEQUAL, in partnership with Queer Rising New York and Join The Impact, jointly demonstrated Thursday for full federal LGBT equality in Albany and outside President Obama's LGBT fundraiser. Before writing a single check at the fundraiser, demonstrators urged Obama donors to ask the President to change his position from "evolving" to full support and pressure him to publicly declare his support for marriage equality. The group has also been working with other LGBT organizations and bloggers to push the #EvolveAlready meme on Twitter, which has exploded in usage over the past few days.
GetEQUAL is a national, direct action lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization. Emphasizing direct action and people power, the mission of GetEQUAL is to empower the LGBT community and its allies to take action to demand full legal and social equality, and to hold accountable those who stand in the way. For more information on GetEQUAL, please visit: http://www.getequal.org. You can follow GetEQUAL on Twitter, on Facebook, or on YouTube.
From Stonewall Democrats:
National Stonewall Democrats Statement on the Passage of Marriage Equality in New York
"New York has finally done the right thing by rising above partisan bickering to give same-sex couples in the Empire State civil marriage rights," said NSD Executive Director Michael Mitchell. "I'm exceptionally proud of our affiliated clubs in New York for all their efforts to help get this measure to Gov. Cuomo's desk, in addition to the years of ceaseless work to elect and educate Democrats statewide about the importance of marriage equality. Those Democrats created the measure, fought long and hard for it and provided the lion's share of the votes for passage."
"I could not be happier or more overjoyed that New York has passed the Marriage Equality Act," said Bryan Ball, President of Stonewall Democrats of Western New York. "I commend our local legislators here in the Buffalo area - Sen. Timothy Kennedy and Assemblymember Sam Hoyt - and Gov. Cuomo for their tireless to advance equality, and also thank those in the Republican Party who stood with Democrats and all New Yorkers for equality.
"I look forward to the day when our Federal government repeals DOMA."
"It is evident that the many voices of LGBT New Yorkers and our straight allies have been heard," said Joseph Hagelmann, President of the Stonewall Democratic Club of New York City. "Through innumerable post cards, letters, phone calls, usage of social networking, lobbying visits, and public rallies, we've strongly reminded our legislators that they have been elected to work for us, and we've sent them a very clear message that this is what we demanded from them."
From the American Foundation for Equal Rights
NY Senate Affirms Constitutional Rights for Gay and Lesbian New Yorkers
AFER's Chad Griffin: "Dark walls of discrimination crumbling"
Los Angeles, CA - Today, a bipartisan majority of the Republican-controlled New York Senate approved a bill securing the freedom to marry for all couples in the state. Governor Andrew Cuomo has promised to promptly sign the bill into law, and to make New York the sixth--and most populous--state to afford gay and lesbian couples the same marriage rights available to heterosexual couples.
Chad Griffin, Co-Founder and Board President of the American Foundation for Equal Rights (AFER), noted the broader significance of the vote:
"New Yorkers have plenty to celebrate this Pride Month. There's no doubt that today will be revered as a major turning point in civil rights history. A bipartisan group of legislators have affirmed that equal rights for every citizen is not a partisan issue, but an American value.
"Yet for millions of Americans who do not live in New York, Washington DC, or the five other states that have recognized the constitutional rights of gay and lesbian Americans, they are still suffering the injustice of discrimination every day.
"The freedom to marry is a constitutional liberty and the birthright of every American. Constitutional rights belong to every individual, regardless of the state you inhabit. This has recently been affirmed within the past year by federal courts in our nation's most prominent civil rights cases.
"A federal court ruled Proposition 8, California's ban on marriage for gay and lesbian citizens, unconstitutional stating that "...Because Proposition 8 prevents California from fulfilling its constitutional obligation to provide marriages on an equal basis, the court concludes that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional."
"The U.S. Department of Justice and the federal courts found the 'Defense of Marriage Act' unconstitutional because it unfairly discriminates against gay and lesbian marriages.
"Now, Prop. 8 is hanging by a thread and marriage equality in California is closer than ever, guaranteeing permanent and full equality for all gay and lesbian Californians, and ultimately for all Americans.
"Simultaneously, public opinion has also been rapidly shifting. No less than six national polls have found that a clear majority of the American public now embraces the freedom to marry for all.
"We are beginning to see the dark walls of discrimination crumble.
"The American Foundation for Equal Rights will continue its work in the federal courts and will not stop until all Americans have the same rights, including the freedom to marry, as guaranteed by our Constitution.
"We would like to express our appreciation and admiration for the unrelenting efforts of the New Yorkers United for Marriage coalition. They deserve enormous gratitude for their effective advocacy in the legislature, as do all New Yorkers who spoke up and lobbied their elected officials to take a stand against inequality and discrimination."
The American Foundation for Equal Rights is the sole sponsor of the federal court challenge to Proposition 8, Perry v. Schwarzenegger. After bringing together Theodore B. Olson and David Boies to lead its legal team, AFER successfully advanced its case through federal district court and is now leading it through the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals before the case is brought to the United States Supreme Court. The Foundation is committed to achieving full federal marriage equality.
From the Center for American Progress:
STATEMENT: CAP's Jeff Krehely on the Passage of the New York Senate's Marriage Equality Bill
Washington, D.C. -- With a bipartisan vote, the New York Senate passed a bill that will allow same-sex couples to marry, following a similar vote by the state assembly last week. When Gov. Andrew Cuomo signs the bill into law, hundreds of thousands of gay people in New York will have the same state-level marriage rights that all other residents currently enjoy. Jeff Krehely, Director of the LGBT Research and Communications Project at CAP, issued the following statement:
"Today is a great day for all people living in New York state, as well as anyone in our country who cares about equality and fairness. With this vote, as well as several polls showing that most Americans support marriage equality for gay couples, it is clear that our nation has reached a tipping point on this issue. More battles are ahead, but fairness and acceptance are clearly going to win--as they did today in New York."
Once the law is in place, New York will be the largest state that has marriage equality. Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, and Washington, D.C., currently allow same-sex couples to marry. Unfortunately, the so-called Defense of Marriage Act prevents the federal government from allowing any legally married same-sex couples to access hundreds of critical family-support programs like Social Security survivor benefits. Advocates are working to repeal this discriminatory law.
The Center for American Progress is a nonpartisan research and educational institute dedicated to promoting a strong, just and free America that ensures opportunity for all. We believe that Americans are bound together by a common commitment to these values and we aspire to ensure that our national policies reflect these values. We work to find progressive and pragmatic solutions to significant domestic and international problems and develop policy proposals that foster a government that is "of the people, by the people, and for the people."
From Equality Federation:
Statement from Equality Federation Executive Director Rebecca Isaacs:
Congratulations New York! Tonight as the LGBT community begins Pride Celebrations in honor of the historic Stonewall Inn Riots, New York State makes history again as the first state to pass marriage equality through a Republican controlled chamber. This makes New York only the second state to pass marriage by a vote of the State Assembly.
This is a testament to the laborious work of state equality organizations. Empire State Pride Agenda deserves tremendous respect and admiration for their decades of advocacy on LGBT issues. Their tireless efforts laid the foundation that has now brought about what we believe will be a historic tipping point in the movement for equality and justice. "Empire State Pride Agenda has worked so long and so hard to make marriage a reality in New York. We salute them and all of the colleagues, allies and elected officials who have made this historic day possible", stated Rebecca Isaacs, Executive Director.
Equality Federation is the national alliance of state-based lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender advocacy organizations. The Federation works to achieve equality for lgbt people in every state and territory by building strong and sustainable statewide organizations in a state-based movement.
From PFLAG National:
PFLAG National Celebrates NY State Marriage Equality Victory!
WASHINGTON, June 24, 2011 - PFLAG National (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) -- the nation's largest grassroots-based family organization for families, friends and allies of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people -- has issued the following statement regarding the 33 - 29 vote in favor of marriage equality in New York State.
"We applaud Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State legislature for their historic vote in favor of marriage equality. This step towards equal civil rights -- in one of the largest states in our nation -- affirms recent polls that most Americans are now in favor of marriage equality for our LGBT loved ones. PFLAG mothers and fathers all over the state of New York will be celebrating with their sons and daughters, who can now legally marry the people they love in their hometowns," said Jody Huckaby, Executive Director of PFLAG National.
"After years of actively fighting for marriage equality in New York State, I am elated that both of my sons -- gay and straight -- will now have the same basic civil right to marry the person they love in the state in which they were raised," said Dale Bernstein, PFLAG National Board Member, PFLAG Mom, and lifelong New York resident.
PFLAG National is committed to securing full civil rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people, by providing support, education and advocacy. Founded in 1973 by mothers and fathers, PFLAG has more than 200,000 members and supporters in more than 350 chapters throughout the United States. To learn more, please visit our website.
From Marriage Equality USA:
MARRIAGE EQUALITY USA CELEBRATES NEW YORK STATE SENATE'S PASSAGE OF MARRIAGE EQUALITY ACT
San Francisco: Marriage Equality USA applauds the passage of equal marriage rights today in New York. The Marriage Equality Act has now passed the New York State Senate, thanks to support from both Democrats and Republicans.
"Today is a great day for New Yorkers and for Americans everywhere who celebrate equality under the law. Thanks to bi-partisan support, New York will become the largest state in our union to provide equal marriage rights for all," said John Lewis, Marriage Equality USA's Legal Analyst.
"New York legislators have reached across the aisle so that loving, committed same-sex couples can walk down the aisle and finally live their happily ever after. We look forward to the day when Proposition 8 is struck down for good, so that we can truly have marriage equality from sea to shining sea," noted Stuart Gaffney, Marriage Equality USA's Media Director.
"Governor Cuomo introduced this bill by saying, 'Marriage Equality is the next chapter of our civil rights story,'" added Gaffney. "Marriage discrimination is now coming to an end in the Empire State, and today there is more reason than ever to say I Love New York!"
Founded in 2000, Marriage Equality USA is a national grassroots organization whose mission is to secure legally-recognized civil marriage equality for all, at the federal and state level, without regard to gender identity or sexual orientation. For more information visit our website. Follow us on Twitter @meusa. Find us on Facebook.
From the Long Island GLBT Community Center:
Long Island Gay Community Applauds Historic Passage of Marriage Equality Act
Community Celebration - Monday, June 27th
Bay Shore, NY- Long Island's gay and lesbian community commends The New York State Senate today on their historic passage of The Marriage Equality Act. Having passed once again in the New York State Assembly last week, Governor Cuomo is expected to sign the bill into law soon.
"We are thrilled that the Senate has joined with The Assembly, The Governor andmillions of fair-minded New Yorkers in supporting full equality for our families under the law." said David Kilmnick, CEO of The Long Island GLBT Services Network, "As Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, 'The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.' Today, we saw people of all different races, religions and ethnicities come together and bend that arc to extend justice to all GLBT families," said Kilmnick.
The Network is hosting a Celebration of Marriage Equality at The Long Island GLBT Community Center in Bay Shore on Monday, January 27th at 6:30pm,with hundreds of community members expected to be in attendance.
WHAT: Celebration of Marriage Equality
WHEN: Monday, June 27th, 2011, 6:30pm
WHERE: Long Island GLBT Community Center, 34 Park Avenue, Bay Shore, NY 11706
The Long Island Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender (GLBT) Services Network is an association of five non-profit organizations that serve Long Island's GLBT Community throughout the lifespan - Long Island Gay and Lesbian Youth (LIGALY), The Long Island GLBT Community Center (The Center) and Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders - Long Island (SAGE-LI), The East End Gay Organization (EEGO) and Equality Long Island (EQLI). Together, each organization is working to end homophobia, provide a home and a safe space for Long Island's GLBT Community and advocate for equality under the law.
From the Lesbian, Gay & Bisexual Community Center:
New York Achieves Marriage
This is an extraordinary night for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) New Yorkers. Marriage for same-sex couples will soon become law, following the passage of the Marriage Equality Act. The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center applauds our state legislators in Albany for their historic vote in favor of marriage equality, and stands with all those involved in the New Yorkers United for Marriage coalition; their tireless efforts helped make this a reality. The Center also commends Governor Andrew Cuomo for his steadfast leadership on this issue.
Countless New York same-sex couples come to the Center every day seeking our services, having faced the numerous roadblocks brought on by a lack of marriage protections. Many come looking for LGBT friendly legal or financial referrals. Some come seeking support for their relationships. And even more come to create families with the help of our Center Families program, which has been serving LGBT couples and families for nearly 20 years.
In addition, the Center held several marriage forums in recent months to spotlight this issue and allow a platform for leaders and community members to speak out and advocate for marriage equality. Most recently we hosted a NY Latinos United for Marriage Equality rally and press conference, highlighting significant Latino community support for LGBT marriage protections and garnering significant media attention.
This vote sends a strong message to all New York same-sex couples that their lives and their families matter. It's vitally important for the state to extend these much needed protections so that loving committed couples can take care of and be responsible for one another and for their families."
From Equality Maryland:
EQUALITY MARYLAND LOOKS TO THE FUTURE AS NEW YORK BECOMES THE SIXTH STATE TO PASS MARRIAGE EQUALITY
EQMD: "It's time that Maryland joins the ranks of states who favor marriage equality for all loving and committed gay and lesbian couples."
BALTIMORE, Maryland, June 24 - Tonight, New York voted in favor of extending the freedom to marry to loving and committed couples in the Empire State. By a vote 33 in favor to 29 opposed, New York becomes the sixth state, plus the District of Columbia, to extend to loving and committed gay and lesbian couples the same respect, responsibility and recognition that only marriage provides.
"Equality Maryland looks toward the future of marriage equality as New York becomes the sixth state, along with the District of Columbia, to recognize gay and lesbian couples as full and equal citizens. It's time that Maryland joins the ranks of states who favor marriage equality for all loving and committed gay and lesbian couples.
While the Civil Marriage Protection Act was sent back to Rules Committee in the 2011 legislatives session, the bill moved further than ever before. In Maryland, we're on the verge of true equality and Equality Maryland commits to the fight to bring full equality in the 2012 legislative session."
Equality Maryland is Maryland's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) civil rights group, with thousands of members across the entire state. Equality Maryland includes: a 501(c)(4) advocacy organization that lobbies in Annapolis and across the state to create equal protection under the law for LGBT Marylanders and their families; a 501(c)(3) educational foundation that works to eliminate prejudice and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity through outreach, education, research, community organizing, training and coalition building; and Equality Maryland PAC, which exists to influence elections. For more information, visit www.EqualityMaryland.org.
From the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center:
L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center Salutes New York's Marriage Equality Victory
LOS ANGELES Following today's 33-29 vote by the New York Senate to legalize marriage for the state's same-sex couples, L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center Chief of Staff Darrel Cummings issued the following statement:
"All of us at the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center applaud the New York legislators who voted for fairness and equality and we celebrate and salute the accomplishment of those who worked so hard to make New York the sixth state, along with Washington, D.C., to allow same-sex couples the freedom to marry.
It's not just the Empire State where we've defeated the forces of bigotry; we're winning across the land. Despite the lies and scare tactics employed by anti-LGBT activists, recent public opinion polls show that a majority of Americans support the right for same-sex couples to marry. So, while the joy of this victory lightens our hearts, let the weight of this moment strengthen our resolve to win the freedom to marry here in California and in all 50 states!"
For more than 40 years, the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center has been building the health, advocating for the rights and enriching the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. Our wide array of services and programs includes: free HIV/AIDS care and medications for those most in need; housing, food, clothing and support for homeless LGBT youth; low-cost counseling and addiction-recovery services; essential services for LGBT-parented families and seniors; legal services; health education and HIV prevention programs; transgender services; cultural arts and much more. Visit us on the web at: www.lagaycenter.org.">www.lagaycenter.org.
From Massachusetts Democrats
MA Dems Congratulate New York on Marriage Equality Vote
Boston - Massachusetts Democratic Party chair John Walsh released the following statement today after the New York Senate followed the state Assembly in voting to recognize marriage equality:
"I would like to congratulate our neighbors in New York who tonight joined Massachusetts and a handful of other states in recognizing marriage equality. Governor Cuomo brought Democrats and Republicans together in Albany to move our nation one step closer to becoming a more perfect union with liberty and justice for all.
"The fight for equality is never easy, but it is always worthwhile. After seven years of marriage equality in Massachusetts, I'm still proud to wake up every morning in a state that has boldly reaffirmed the belief of our nation's founders that all of us are created equal. It is a satisfaction that our friends in New York, and hopefully more states to come, will now share.
From the Council of the City of New York:
Transcript of Speaker Christine C. Quinn's Remarks At The Budget Press Conference on Announcement of the Passage Of Same-Sex Marriage Legislation
You shouldn't get to have so many good things happen on one night. Before we came over here, we were watching the beginning of the vote in my office, and I saw Senator Saland say he was going to vote for the bill. So I knew the bill was going to pass, and I was on the phone with my partner Kim, who still wasn't convinced the vote was going to pass, even though I assured her it was going to.
And it's hard to describe the feeling of having the law of your State changed to say that you - what you know in your heart is true, that you are a full member of the State, and that your family is as good as any other family. And tomorrow, my family will gather for my niece's college graduation party, and that'll be a totally different day because we'll get to talk about when our wedding will be and what it'll look like, and what dress Jordan, our grand-niece, will wear as the flower girl. And that's a moment I really thought would never come.
As much as I said I was sure this bill would pass, I was never sure this bill would pass. And even this morning as I stood in my apartment getting ready, I was so nervous, because I had begun to plan the wedding in my mind. And I thought, 'What if it doesn't happen again,' the disappointment will be so tremendous.
And the feeling now is so overwhelming, to see Senator Saland stand up there and talk about the journey he had gone through to get to this point. To see Senators stand up and overcome their fear of what the voters will do to them, or they fear the voters will do in the voting booth. It's an amazing day.
And what it does for me is important, but what it does for gay children is indescribable. There are children who are watching this vote right now across the country in households where they are afraid to tell people that they believe that they are gay, and they just saw the Legislature of the greatest State in the Union say that they are equal and that they matter. That will keep children alive, it will give them hope, and it will tell them that it does get better and that they matter.
So I just want to thank everyone who has brought us this great day - the Governor, Speaker Silver, Danny O'Donnell, Matt Titone, Deborah Glick, Majority Leader Dean Skelos, Minority Leader John Sampson, Tom Duane, who worked so hard for this day, all of those 29 Democrats, and Senators Alesi, McDonald, Saland, Grisanti and every New Yorker who didn't lose faith, who didn't give up hope.
Because you know, ultimately the people who didn't want this bill, they were driven by the desire to take something away from people they don't know, and people who have never done anything to them. And ultimately that kind of energy only drags you down.
But the people who never lost faith, like the people behind me since 2009, are driven instead by adding to rights, and adding to affirmation, and making this State a better place. And that's the kind of energy that lifts you up and moves you forward, and has moved us forward tonight. So I just want to thank everybody.
I really can't really describe what this feels like, but it is one of the best feelings I have ever had in my life, and I just want to thank everyone who has brought us to this.
From Kirsten Gillibrand:
GILLIBRAND STATEMENT ON NEW YORK STATE ACHIEVING MARRIAGE EQUALITY
Praises Democrats And Republicans For Coming Together To Uphold American Values Of Equality, Justice
Washington, DC - U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand issued the following statement tonight after the New York State Senate voted in favor of marriage equality for all New Yorkers:
"New York has always led the way for equal rights - from leading the suffrage movement, to Abraham Lincoln's remarkable speech opposing slavery at Cooper Union - and we have done it again. I want to thank Governor Cuomo for his extraordinary leadership and unwavering commitment to marriage equality which brought home this great victory. I also want to thank the committed advocates who worked day in and day out, and all of the New York State lawmakers - Democrats and Republicans - who came together to uphold the fundamental American values of equality and justice for all.
"New York State has sent a powerful message to the rest of the nation. The right to get married and start a family is a basic, human right that must be shared by all Americans. Every loving, committed couple in America deserves this right. And no politician should stand in the way of this fact.
"Marriage under the law is the foundation for strong families. I will continue to help lead the fight in Washington to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act so that all loving and committed marriages in New York are recognized by the federal government."
From Eric T. Schneiderman, Attorney General:
STATEMENT BY ATTORNEY GENERAL ERIC T. SCHNEIDERMAN ON THE PASSAGE OF MARRIAGE EQUALITY
ALBANY -- Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman released the following statement today on the passage of marriage equality legislation in the state Senate:
"Today's historic legislation on marriage equality is a resounding victory for justice. This vote means that every man and woman will be treated equally in the county clerks' offices, the courts, and the administrative agencies of the state of New York. It means that every single New Yorker will have access to the full rights and responsibilities that come with a marriage license.
"At our founding, what made America different from every other country that existed before was a commitment to an ideal that had never been advanced - that all are created equal, endowed by their Creator with the rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Our history as a nation has been one of striving to make those words ever more true. Today, our state rose to the challenge, and New York, once again, has carried on this great American tradition.
"My deepest thanks and congratulations to all who worked so hard to make this happen: Governor Cuomo, the Legislature, Mayor Bloomberg, Speaker Quinn and the thousands of other advocates. We have made history."
From Assembly Member Daniel O'Donnell
MARRIAGE EQUALITY PASSES NEW YORK LEGISLATURE
June 24, 2011 - Today, the New York State Senate finally approved the Marriage Equality Act, legislation that will establish marriage rights for same-sex couples in New York State and extend the associated rights, responsibilities, and protections of marriage to those couples. The vote by the Senate followed closely on the heels of passage for the fourth time by the Assembly on June 15th.
Immediately following the Senate vote, Assembly Member O'Donnell stated:
"Thomas Jefferson once wrote, "our civil rights have no dependence on our religious opinions." Today, the New York State Legislature has affirmed the truth of that fundamental principle with the passage of the Marriage Equality Act."
"This day is a momentous one, not only for the thousands of same-sex couples across our state who find themselves suddenly on the cusp equality, now awaiting only one person's signature before being able to marry, but for all New Yorkers who have recognized and fought against legalized discrimination. I have been with my partner John for over 30 years, and, at long last, the state where we were both born, raised, and have lived our adult lives has agreed that all New Yorkers deserve Marriage Equality in the eyes of the law."
"Speaker Silver and my courageous colleagues in the Assembly who have staunchly supported this bill since 2007, when we became only the third legislative body nationwide to approve same-sex marriage without a court order, deserve immense praise for their continued and repeated votes for Marriage Equality. The State Senators who possessed the courage and conviction today to vote for my equality receive my profound thanks for taking this bold step forward. And, Governor Cuomo, who has been a resolute and powerful ally in this fight since long before the beginning of his term this past January, cannot be thanked enough for his continued support in this battle for justice."
"I am proud to have played a central role in this crucial moment for our state. Once Marriage Equality is signed into law, our state will be the most populous in the entire nation with these rights. I hope that with this prominence, our great state will shine as a beacon of equality and lead other states from the darkness of injustice. I will never forget this day."
The Marriage Equality Act now heads to Governor Cuomo's desk to await signature into law.
Assembly Member O'Donnell has represented the 69th Assembly District since 2003. His district includes Morningside Heights, Manhattan Valley, and portions of the Upper West Side and West Harlem. He serves as the Chair of the Ethics and Guidance Committee; was Chair of the Subcommittee on Criminal Procedure; and is a member of the Education; Codes; Environmental Conservation; Judiciary; Oversight, Analysis & Investigation; and Tourism, Arts & Sports Development committees.