It's been an exciting ride in New York. We're on the brink of winning gay marriage, or marriage equality, if you prefer, which would put New York as the sixth state to allow same-sex marriage and also the most populated state to honor such marriages. Estimates from 2009 show that over 42,000 same-sex couples in New York will be affected by the bill's passage.
"I am a proponent of marriage equality, and I'm working very hard to make that a reality in New York. I am also a proponent of religious freedom, and separation of church and state, so these are both very important principles. I don't see one in competition with the other."
Click here to connect to a video clip of Andrew Cuomo addressing the vote on gay marriage.
We've Almost Won It
As close as we are to winning, we're not there quite yet. There's still work to do and voices that senators need to hear from, which is why I love the power of social media. Thanks to social media platforms like Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and blogs (like my blog!) LGBT advocates are now being heard more than ever before.
As we move into defining Web 3.0 (yes, we're there!) LGBT advocates and volunteers, like myself, will need to learn how to best leverage social tools and web technology to garner support and ensure that our demands for equal rights for the LGBT community are heard.
Before social media, we relied on phones, regular mail and e-mail to reach our senators. Now, with the advent of social media, we can use easy Click-to-Call phone advocacy tools hosted by the Empire State Pride Agenda, Facebook and Twitter accounts, as well as additional YouTube channels for constituents to reach their senators.
Earlier this week, Republican state senators Roy McDonald and James Alesi came forward in support of gay marriage in New York State. LGBT organizations including Friendfactor and Freedom to Marry urged its followers to contact these senators to thank them via Facebook for being leaders on the Republican side.
YouTube was also used to drum up support for Marriage Equality in New York. On her video channel, YouTube user Brittany Simon shared with her following Senator Roy McDonald's buzz-worthy statement on why he has agreed to vote in favor of marriage equality earlier this week:
Additional videos made can be seen by searching 'Roy McDonald gay marriage' on YouTube.
Twitter has been used to deliver messages in support of gay marriage. Last week, I reported that the #NY4M hashtag, which is one of the prominent hashtags used to follow happenings in New York, was tweeted over 550 times. Now, with the vote coming closer to reality and constituents sharing messages with one another their senators, the hashtag has now been tweeted well over 6,000 times in the past seven days.
Contact Your New York State Senator Now
Earlier this week, Towleroad reported the possible Republican swing votes with contact information for readers. Here's a comprehensive list of what Towleroad shared. I've added Twitter handles and Facebook pages where relevant. I encourage you to contact these senators via all channels to ensure that your voice is heard.
Don't Live or Know Anyone Who Lives in New York? Then Help a Celebrity!
Thanks to Friendfactor, which I wrote about last year and whom I also assist with some of their public relations needs, it is now easier than ever for anyone to help in the marriage equality fight in New York.
Fans of Margaret Cho, Lance Bass, Cynthia Nixon, and Sarah Silverman can participate in the fight by making a call on the behalf of these New Yorkers. Just click on any of their links and you'll be connected to their page on Friendfactor where you can make a call to New York senators.