The New York General Assembly is close to approving a measure giving homosexual couples the right to marry. Governor Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday submitted a bill to legalize same-sex marriage in New York.
Cuomo met with homosexual advocates, including labor union representatives and emerged from the meeting saying he would push the gay-marriage bill. Labor unions, especially those representing government employees, have been highly engaged in helping promote the homosexual agenda as part of a strategy to reduce their declining membership base. Labor unions have a long track record one of the largest contributors to Democrats at the national and state levels.
The proposed Marriage Equality Act would allow homosexuals to marry and give them equal status under the law, including rights, benefits protections currently available to men and women who marry.
“For too long, same-sex couple have been denied the freedom to marry, as well as hundreds of rights other New Yorkers take for granted,” said Cuomo is a written statement. “Marriage Equality is a matter of fairness and legal security for thousands of families in this state – not of religion or culture. When it comes to fighting for what’s right, New Yorkers wrote the book, and Marriage Equality is the next chapter in our civil rights story.”
The bill had previously failed in the State Senate. Senate Republicans have previously stated they would not provide a single vote unless two or more Democrats changed their position. After an intense period of lobbying, Democrat Senators Shirley Huntley and Joseph Addabbo of Queens and Car Kruger, from Brooklyn announced their support. The senators from Queens say voters in their districts helped changed their mind from “no” votes into “yes” votes.
“For me, my vote was about one thing: my people and my district,” Addabbo told The Wall Street Journal.
Kruger, on the other hand, said his switch was driven more by personal considerations. “We’re about to redefine what the American family is, and that’s a good thing,” he told the Wall Street Journal.
Senator Jim Alesi is the first Republican to openly endorse homosexual marriage. A second Republican, Roy J. McDonald, also just recently added his support to marriage for gays and lesbians.
If the measure does pass, which is expected, it would be the first time a Republican controlled chamber passes a bill allowing homosexuals to marry. A Senate Republican spokesman said Republican senators would formally caucus sometime this week.
The New York Assembly, commonly known as the House of Representatives in other states, has voted on and passed homosexual marriage in recent years. Although the Assembly has fewer Democrats than it had in prior years, the bill will likely still pass by a comfortable margin.
The measure includes provisions that exempt religious institutions and clergy from solemnizing a same-sex marriage or from providing their facilities for such ceremonies. "This bill grants equal access to the government-created legal institution of civil marriage while leaving the religious institution of marriage to its own separate and fully autonomous sphere," said Cuomo.
Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of New York, says the provisions are insufficient. The National Organization for Marriage, which is urging supporters to contact state senators to stop the legalization of gay marriage, also expressed concerns over the threat to religious freedom.
If passed, New York would be the sixth state to allow homosexual marriage. The others are Iowa, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Vermont, along with the District of Columbia.
Senator Ruben Diaz, a Pentecostal minister from the Bronx is the lone Democrat opposed to the measure.