NY Lawmakers Will Vote on Gay Marriage: We’re Really Close to Winning a Thing!

Gay marriage is on the horizon in New York City today as Governor Andrew Cuomo introduces a bill to legalize the state-sanctioned marital union of Adam and Steve. Lawmakers break on Monday so we’re expecting a relatively speedy turnaround on this one.

In a statement, Cuomo said:

“For too long, same-sex couples have been denied the freedom to marry, as well as hundreds of rights that other New Yorkers take for granted. From the fight for women’s suffrage to the struggle for civil rights, New Yorkers have been on the right side of history. But on the issue of marriage equality, our state has fallen behind.”

Bloomberg, who was treated to a lovely protest outside City Hall today in response to his support for gay marriage, had similar sentiments:

“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.”

What are our chances? Well, the bill is “roughly” the same as the one defeated by Republican senators in 2009, but The New York Times says we’re one vote away from cinching marriage equality:

New York is within a single vote of legalizing gay marriage after a second Republican state senator said on Tuesday that he would support the measure should it come to the floor this week.

The senator, Roy J. McDonald, from the capital region, made his comments to reporters amid growing indications that Republican leaders would bring the bill to an up or down vote on Thursday or Friday. Three other Republican state senators, speaking on condition of anonymity because their conference had not yet formally debated the measure, said they believed the bill was almost certain to come up for a vote and that it would likely pass, making New York the sixth and largest state in the nation to legalize same-sex marriage.

The bill Cuomo introduced today includes exemptions which state, according to Capitol Confidential:

– An entity incorporated under the benevolent orders and other organizations formed by religious orders “shall be deemed in its nature distinctly private and therefore, shall not be required to provide accommodations, advantages, facilities or privileges related to the solemnization or celebration of a marriage.” In other words, the Knights of Columbus or the Jonesville Hunting Club (which as a Jonesville native I assure you doesn’t actually exist, but you get my point) can continue to only rent their hall to members, and they, like the Boy Scouts and other private organizations, can set the criteria for membership.

– Such a refusal “shall not create a civil claim or cause of action.” Which means, if you’re a gay couple just dying to get married in the Knights of Columbus catering hall, you can’t sue them if they say no.

– Nothing in this law should be construed to prevent any organization from limiting employment to someone, or limiting giving someone housing, or “giving preference to persons of the same religion or denomination or from taking such action as is calculated by such organization to promote the religious principals for which it is established or maintained.” In other words, if you’re a Catholic university, you can give preference to Catholic students.

Fifty-eight percent of New Yorkers support same-sex marriage, and Senator James Alesi (the first Republican to announce his support for legalizing gay marriage) predicted the bill will pass with 35 votes. This new optimism is a result of three Democrats and Alesi changing their minds about being anti-equality . Alesi explained his decision to switch teams thusly:

I am doing this on my own initiative. I really am not down here because I have been guaranteed that we will have enough votes to pass this. It is my hope, not just here in New York State, but all across the nation that if a Republican senator can stand before his constituents and say that he supports marriage equality, that he supports equality for all Americans without regard for their gender or their sexual preference that we can start here in New York State and look at it as is a national initiative that America is for Freedom and equality.”

Ruben Diaz, to nobody’s surprise, is the one Democrat going anti-gay-marriage. Other jerks in the gay marriage fight include Timothy Dolan, the Catholic Archbishop, who has “equated the move to allow same-sex marriage to life in China or North Korea, where “government presumes daily to ‘redefine’ rights, relationships, values and natural law.”

According to The Gothamist, New Yorkers United for Marriage has sent Cynthia Nixon (Sex and the City’s Miranda) and Sean Avery, a hockey player for the Rangers, to Albany to “push lawmakers to vote their conscience.”

With all of these beautiful important people behind the push for Marriage Equality, how could we possibly lose?






Having just moved to California, Home of the Fabulous Proposition 8, from New York, where I lived for six years, I’m on the edge of my seat for this one (and by “seat” I mean “bed” because I use my chair as a desk and my bed as a chair) and encourage any perspective homogay couples to hire Robin Roemer as your wedding photographer. Fingers crossed!

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Riese is the 41-year-old Co-Founder of Autostraddle.com as well as an award-winning writer, video-maker, LGBTQ+ Marketing consultant and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York and now lives in Los Angeles. Her work has appeared in nine books, magazines including Marie Claire and Curve, and all over the web including Nylon, Queerty, Nerve, Bitch, Emily Books and Jezebel. She had a very popular personal blog once upon a time, and then she recapped The L Word, and then she had the idea to make this place, and now here we all are! In 2016, she was nominated for a GLAAD Award for Outstanding Digital Journalism. She's Jewish and has a cute dog named Carol. Follow her on twitter and instagram.

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    • Your involvement is crucial. Our only hope for this is if New Yorkers call their senate offices today.
      In particular, reach out to Greg Ball (Putnam County), 518-455-3111;
      Joe Griffo (Utica), 518-455-3334;
      Mark Grisanti (Buffalo, Grand Island, Niagara Falls), 518-455-3240;
      Andrew Lanza (Staten Island) 518-455-3215;
      Betty Little (Plattsburgh to Glens Falls), 518-455-2811; and Jack Martins (Nassau County/Garden City) 518-455-3265.

  1. I even give a discount if you’re a gay couple. Is that incredibly biased? I don’t care. ;)

    I’m so excited about this!!!

    • Pass this thing and I’ll be glad to take your offer. NYC is my favorite place in the planet and I would be very happy to marry there

  2. YES JULIANNE MOORE!!! OOOOOHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHWEEEEEEEEEE!! I definitely have a thing for straight women that support LGBT rights. Well, not intentionally… It’s always after the infatuation develops that I learn about their progressive values and then it’s like “SWOON!”


    • lmao I’m a complete spazz. Apparently my excitement has short-circuited my brain. Yes, I know JM has played lots of lesbians and gay-related people in movies, so duh, why didn’t I think of this already. Just…brain…fizzled. I need to assume control over editing my posts…*sigh*

  3. it is embarrassing that my home state still hasn’t passed it yet. i was shocked when it failed last time, but at least it gave us diane savino’s awesome speech.

    ny (and america in general) is sort of shockingly behind and bloomberg is totally right.

    my new adopted country (the netherlands) was the first to legalize gay marriage. i can’t wait until my real home gets on board!

  4. I am totally prepared to celebrate like crazy if this passes, but I’m trying to hold myself back from getting too excited/hopeful. I don’t trust that those who say they’ll vote yes actually will, and I’m tired of being disappointed. *crosses fingers still*

  5. I just moved back home to NY for the summer yesterday and have since gotten three automated calls from NOM taking a survey about whether I think marriage should be between a man and a woman. I think this is the first time I’ve cursed out a machine. Plus we got one message from a pro-equality group. It’s making me super on edge. come the fuck on new york.

  6. Slowly but surely pulling equality from the teeth of the opposition. Come on New York, let’s have it.

  7. I really want to be very excited about this, but I’m just nervous. It seems, from my little Manhattan nest of gayness, that this should DUHH have BEEN passed. But like, then I remember that LI exists (I’m not hating, I’ve lived there so…) and I’m just a little bit petrified.

    • don’t forget about the large portion of NY that is Upstate, and very very conservative. that’s what i’m nervous about :/

      • Not to mention NYC’s conservative redheaded stepborough whose rep is almost a definite No. Sigh.

  8. It’s been a bit of bummer that my home state, where I am so proud to be from, hasn’t already approved same-sex marriage. The highest court there actually argued that “intuition” says kids need mommies and daddies, and thusly consenting adults who love each other can’t get married. What a WTF decision. The courts have said no, so it’s up to lawmakers. Let’s do this, Dems.

  9. wait wait… sean avery: “i treat everyone the way i wanna be treated.” the man is like one of the biggest douchecanoes in the entire nhl, topped only by gary bettman.

    glad to see him in this campaign though, it does mitigate his doucheosity. perhaps he isn’t a douchecanoe. perhaps he is only a douchedinghy.

  10. If you live in New York, it is VERY important you call your senator and leave a voice message expressing your support. They need to hear from you, THEY REALLY DO! You do make a difference! I know telephones are really scary, but all you have to say is “Hello my name is _______ , I live in (__city___) and I am a supporter of Equal Marriage, and I hope you are too.” That’s it! Of course you can say much, much more, but I know there’s a lot of you who are really shy. If you don’t know who your senator is go to http://www.nysenate.gov/senators to find out.

    They are voting on Thursday, and we only have one vote to go! PLEASE DO YOUR JOB AND CALL CALL CALL! Call tonight, and call tomorrow! It doesn’t matter if you’ve already called, CALL AGAIN!!!! You count! I promise!!! If everyone said, “they won’t listen to little ol’ me” then nothing would progress, EVER!

  11. I am so excited, I am a lifelong New Yorker (Manhattanite born and bred) and I am so sad this doesn’t exist yet! I just feel like yelling at people and saying, “NEW YORK IS THE BEST, HOW CAN OTHER STATES HAVE THIS AND WE DON’T?”

    (You all probably all have this feeling about your own home state, so don’t take my “new york is the best” bias as a slight against your states)

  12. My sister moved to NY a couple of years ago and is totally supportive of her homogay little sister, so +1 for us on the east coast!

  13. Right now there are 30 votes committed to passing same-sex marriage in the New York Senate—29 Democrats and one Republican (James Alesi, R-Rochester). Only two more Republicans need to vote for same-sex marriage for a bill to pass the Senate.
    The list below are the key possible Republican swing votes. It is absolutely URGENT that you call all of the Senators below and make clear that you support marriage equality TODAY!

    Stephen Saland (845) 463-0840
    Roy McDonald (518) 274-4616
    Andrew Lanza (718) 984-4073
    Greg Ball (845) 279-3773
    Kemp Hannon (516) 739-1700
    Charles Fuschillo (516) 882-0630
    Betty Little (518) 743-0968

    • By the way, I copy-pasted that list from NOM’s blog. So NOM has actually done us a favor!
      Thanks Maggie!
      NOTE: Lanza has no voicemail, Ball’s voicemail box is full, Fuschillo is disconnected and Little’s voicemail box is full.

  14. I just totally realized I have no idea who my State Senator is (just the federal ones). D:

  15. I have a problem.


    Really? REALLY?

    I clicked on it before getting upset, and sure enough, the options are man seeking woman, and woman seeking man.

    “Find God’s Match For You”…WHY IS THIS HERE??

  16. Come on NY! Trying not to get my hopes up too much but we’re closer than ever this time. My wife and I have already had the, “If it becomes legal are we having an actual wedding or just going to City Hall?” discussion.

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