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Exclusive: Governor David Paterson Discusses Marriage Equality Bill, Maine Ballot Measure, Accomplishments and Campaign


New York Governor David Paterson has scheduled a special session of the state Senate for this Tuesday, November 10. Paterson has placed a marriage equality bill on the session's agenda.

Yesterday, Corey Johnson and I sat down with Paterson for an exclusive interview with Paterson in his office in Harlem to discuss that bill and ask him whether or not he believes action will actually take place on Tuesday, and what conversations he's had with Senate leadership that indicate it might be acted upon. We also ask him if he thinks Obama needs to take a stronger position on issues important to the gay and lesbian community like the ballot measure in Maine.

Watch the interview, AFTER THE JUMP...

Says Paterson of the marriage equality bill: "People who've lived together for 10, 20, 30 years are waiting, hoping that this legislation will pass while they still have the breath to elicit an 'I do' on the altar, and I think it's time that it happens, and if I have to see legislation fail so I can identify who voted against it to better persuade them, then I'll take that chance."

Of the bill's fate should Senators vote on it, Paterson says: "In this case, I have a feeling if it got on the floor it would be voted up."

Paterson also says people should see opportunity in defeats like the ballot measure in Maine: "I think there's this feeling that if legislation fails that it's this colossal loss for the cause. I find it to be motivational. I think that the public referendum in Maine should inspire us that there's more work to do, more persuasion to be made, more understanding to be reached, and more sensitivity to be displayed, and those of us who have been a catalyst for marriage equality have to regroup and work harder."

We also ask Paterson about the ads he posted on Friday which signal he's already begun his 2010 campaign for governor.

Watch the interview, AFTER THE JUMP...

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  1. Say what you may about Paterson, he seems to be an standup guy. I may not know much about his political career, however he seems to stand for what is right regardless of the socio-political ramifications.

    Posted by: CJ | Nov 8, 2009 9:44:39 AM

  2. Lets see: Paterson vs. Cuomo or Giulani? A man of integrity, decency, and goodwill OR a politico hack willingly, even enthusiastically, sacrificing the good for political gain? Between Cuomo and Giulani, depending on one's point-of-view, could certainly qualify as a pick of "the lesser of two evils."

    With Paterson though, he isn't an evil; that is not his nature. He is one of those rare man/woman of high character. Governor Paterson did not create the economic mess New York is now in; that was the GOP's George Pataki with the help of Joe Bruno.

    Posted by: Mike in Brooklyn | Nov 8, 2009 10:29:59 AM

  3. I like him and feel bad he's so unpopular, but he is out of his depth. He never wanted to be governor (did anyone see when he weirdly spoke out loud about what all his plans had been before Hillary left, etc.?). Also, I would caution putting him on a pedestal as far as doing what's right. I think it's great that he's on our side with marriage equality, but he's mainly doing it not in spite of opposition but because in NY, it would actually improve his popularity. Still, I like him. I just wish he wouldn't run because he's not got a shot at winning and I'd rather have just about anyone over Giuliani. NIGHTMARE thinking of him running NY state as he did NYC. PS Great interview! What a cool scoop, guys!

    Posted by: Matthew Rettenmund | Nov 8, 2009 10:42:17 AM

  4. I don't care what anyone else thinks about him. Paterson is a man of conviction and ACTION -- something other politicians seem to have trouble with, even when they have no trouble talking about it.

    Posted by: sparks | Nov 8, 2009 11:47:23 AM

  5. Is it me or does the guvnah look like Fred Flintstone?

    Posted by: John in Boston | Nov 8, 2009 1:19:29 PM

  6. "but he's mainly doing it not in spite of opposition but because in NY, it would actually improve his popularity"

    I feel he's doing it for his daughter and think this may be the one case that puts politics aside.

    I don't think discussing/promoting a controversial subject is good for anyone's political career.

    Posted by: unruly | Nov 8, 2009 1:59:40 PM

  7. Time to fight back. Until we say "I do", No You Don't!

    Posted by: weddingskunk | Nov 8, 2009 2:17:51 PM

  8. UNRULY, I believe you are confusing David Paterson with Deval Patrick, the Governor of Massachusetts. David Paterson and his wife Michelle have two children, Ashley (who was Michelle's child from a previous marriage) and a son named Alex. To my knowledge, neither of the Paterson's children has ever come out of the closet. Deval Patrick's daughter, on the other hand, came out of the closet as a lesbian.

    Posted by: peterparker | Nov 8, 2009 2:22:33 PM

  9. OR alan keyes. Hey, where's peepee? LOL!

    Posted by: TANK | Nov 8, 2009 2:42:36 PM

  10. I live in Albany, NY and Gov. Patterson is unpopular because of the budget cuts. However, Patterson became Governor in the midst of a real bad economic crisis after Pataki. Hey if it was still Spitzer, or Cuomo...New Yorkers would hate on them because they would have no choice, but to do the same things that Patterson was doing right now. If Giuliani or some other republican was Governor right now, budget cuts would be much worse and SUNY would be privatized.

    The point is NY and the rest of this country is in bad economic shape, to the point where its beyond the control of political leaders, especially newly elected leaders after the GW Bush era. It's certainly not Obama's fault that the unemployment rate went up a little over 10 percent. The economic situation is difficult to control. However, giving rights to LGBT's at the federal level, is something one can have a bit more control over.

    Obama could be more vigilant about DOMA and DADT, instead of the fancy talk. What is Obama waiting for? Patterson on the other hand, is actually doing something about Gay marriage in New York State. Perhaps, this is where I have more respect for Gov. Patterson, than Pres. Obama.

    Realistically, I don't see Gov. Patterson winning. Politically, its not a good idea for him to run for Governor, mainly because Crazy Giuliani might run...that's scary. Nonetheless, Gov. Patterson will get my vote. I'm sure fellow Albanians particularly Hetero ones will disagree with me, but I see that Patterson keeps it real more than Obama nowadays lol!

    Posted by: Cynthia | Nov 8, 2009 3:27:58 PM

  11. i am all for marriage equality and equality in general for all LGBT people, but why do gays/lesbians want obama to speak up about maine? he is NOT for gay marriage. sure i wish he were, but he isn't. it makes no sense for him or anyone to act like they are for something when we all know they are not.

    Posted by: Betty B | Nov 8, 2009 3:49:00 PM

  12. Obama was for full gay marriage and changed his tune during and after the election. He needed to speak up for Maine because he had the majority of the votes there and he's against taking away rights once they are given. He's a coward and it hurting the people who he used to get him into office.

    Posted by: SnSD | Nov 8, 2009 6:13:55 PM

  13. Matthew R. : If you lived in NYC, like me, you might want Giuliani back running the city (but even some of my fellow natives don't like him, I'll admit).

    Posted by: JT | Nov 8, 2009 6:36:59 PM

  14. Patterson doesn't get it. Civil rights should NEVER go to popular referendum. The LGBT community are the only minority in the history of these united states that have ever suffered the humiliation of having our civil rights voted on. That is completely 100% un-American.

    Posted by: BearEyes | Nov 8, 2009 6:51:28 PM

  15. I think Corey is way too casually dressed for an interview with the governor of New York.

    Posted by: lark | Nov 9, 2009 2:38:33 AM

  16. Isn't he blind though Lark? I do know what you mean though:)

    Posted by: SnSD | Nov 9, 2009 2:03:19 PM

  17. Without having done my homework recently, I will say that Patterson came in as lieutenant Gov. with resounding endorsements from Empire State Pride Agenda. I remember him being out in front along with Daniel O Donnell and Christine Quinn, at least once he was on the electoral radar. He's been calling for legislation and votes on gay marriage for as long as it's been his (occupational) place to do so. Granted, the assembly has been passing LGBT-friendly legislation for a fair-share longer than he or Spitzer were whetting their political whistles.

    Posted by: Wfowl | Nov 10, 2009 12:21:48 AM

  18. If Giuliani or some other republican was Governor right now, budget cuts would be much worse and SUNY would be privatized.

    Posted by: ClubPenguin | Mar 24, 2011 9:06:22 AM

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