Press

Task Force applauds New York Assembly for historic vote on marriage equality

Date: 
June 20, 2007

MEDIA CONTACT:
Roberta Sklar, Director of Communications
media@theTaskForce.org
646.358.1465

Urges vote on bill to protect transgender people

WASHINGTON, June 20 — By a vote of 85 to 61, the New York State Assembly late last night passed a bill sponsored by Gov. Eliot Spitzer to extend to same-sex couples the freedom to marry. Only two other legislative chambers — both houses of the California Legislature — have passed similar legislation in the past. The bill now moves to the state Senate, where Republicans hold a narrow majority. The leader of the Senate, Joseph Bruno (R/C-Rensselaer-Saratoga) has said he personally would not support the bill, and said it was “not a priority in the Senate.” The session is slated to end tomorrow.

Statement by Matt Foreman, Executive Director
National Gay and Lesbian Task Force

“This great day for New York and the nation shows that when the courts fail us — as they did so appallingly in New York last summer — we can and will press on to win marriage equality through the state legislatures.

“We thank Governor Spitzer for introducing this bill, Assemblymember Danny O’Donnell, its sponsor, for leading the charge and compelling his colleagues to have the courage to act, and most of all, Alan Van Capelle and the Empire State Pride Agenda for their dogged organizing and lobbying from Buffalo to Montauk. If anyone thinks this was an easy job because New York is so ‘liberal,’ they don’t know a thing about Albany.

“Now, the focus shifts to the state Senate and its majority leader, Joe Bruno. I know from personal experience that Senator Bruno is a thoughtful and decent man who is moved by injustice. We urge him to allow the bill, sponsored by our own Tom Duane, to come to the floor and allow all members to vote their consciences.

“Finally, we call upon the State Assembly to pass the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act, which would ban discrimination based upon gender identity and expression. It’s a disgrace that the bill has languished for four years while so many other states have taken action.”

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The mission of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force is to build the grassroots power of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community. We do this by training activists, equipping state and local organizations with the skills needed to organize broad-based campaigns to defeat anti-LGBT referenda and advance pro-LGBT legislation, and building the organizational capacity of our movement. Our Policy Institute, the movement’s premier think tank, provides research and policy analysis to support the struggle for complete equality and to counter right-wing lies. As part of a broader social justice movement, we work to create a nation that respects the diversity of human expression and identity and creates opportunity for all. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., we also have offices in New York City, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis and Cambridge.