Alan Van Capelle Hub
The executive director of New York advocacy organization Empire State Pride Agenda, is leaving to join the staff of Comptroller John Liu, reports Elizabeth Benjamin at the NY Daily News:
"Van Capelle is breaking the news this morning to the staff at ESPA, where his seven-year tenure makes his the organization's longest-serving executive director. He will be Liu's deputy comptroller for external affairs, serving as a chief advisor on intergovernmental relations, politics and communications. He will start his new job in early March. Van Capelle's departure comes almost two months after the LGBT community suffered a significant setback in the fight for marriage when the Senate defeated the measure, 24-38. ESPA has pledged to continue the fight, and some have suggested bringing new blood in to try to push the measure over the finish line might be a smart move."
Said Van Capelle in a statement: "It has been an opportunity of a lifetime to work for the Empire State Pride Agenda over the past seven years. The amazing volunteer Boards, the talented staff, our many dedicated supporters, the statewide community and all of our allies, in elected office and elsewhere, have been a tremendous inspiration. I will always treasure that the Pride Agenda entrusted me with the responsibility to advance our community’s agenda in New York and I look forward to supporting the Pride Agenda’s work in the years ahead."
Empire State Pride Agenda Executive Director Alan van Capelle released a statement following this afternoon's disappointing rejection of marriage equality in New York state.
While we are disappointed by today’s vote, we are pleased that the issue of marriage equality at last was debated in the New York State Senate. We had long called for a public debate on this matter so we could determine who was truly on our side.
It is a step forward for our democratic process in New York that a debate and vote have now occurred. Now we know where we stand, and where we need to concentrate our efforts in the future.
We are incredibly thankful to those who have stood with us and will continue to stand with us as our community presses forward to win marriage equality. In this regard:
We thank Governor Paterson for his unstinting support;
We thank each of the Senators who pushed for a vote and stood with us when it was time to be counted;
We also thank the members of the New York State Assembly—led by Speaker Sheldon Silver and Assemblymember Daniel O’Donnell—who have three times now voted for marriage equality by increasingly bipartisan majorities; and
We thank our many allies in the labor, faith and the business communities for their support and willingness to speak out.
To the tens of thousands of LGBT New Yorkers who have worked hard for equality, and to those who may for the very first time have become politically involved due to this fight, our message is as follows:
Our fight continues. Marriage equality is coming to New York. Time clearly is on our side and you can be sure that we will never stop working until we win.
To those Senators who do not yet see our families as deserving the same protections as other families in New York, our message is simple:
We are more committed than ever to this fight. We will redouble our efforts in your district to ensure that our voice is heard. We know our cause is just. We know that a growing majority of New Yorkers believes in the same values of fairness and equality that we do. If you cannot support us, we will find candidates for public office who do, and we will work through the democratic system to affect needed change.
New York local station NY1 has posted a new tally of senators with regard to the marriage equality bill.
"Of 62 senators, 21 are supportive. The remaining 41 are opposed, wouldn't say, or couldn't be reached Wednesday, a state holiday. Proponents admit some of the 30 Republicans will be needed. A spokesman for the GOP conference says none are publicly supportive. Opponents like New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms Executive Director Jason McGuire say they have reason to be concerned at the polls, referencing a socially moderate Republican pushed out by a conservative in a recent congressional contest upstate. "No senator wants to be the next Dede Scozzafava and lose their seat because of the issue of marriage," McGuire said. On the other side, there's political heft for supporters facing a tough vote. Generous campaign contributions from gay rights supporters helped return Democrats to senate power for the first time in more than four decades."
Here's the full breakdown.
Paul Schindler at Gay City News has an excellent inside piece up regarding the negotiations on Tuesday which led to an agreement that a vote would be made on marriage equality before the end of the year:
"The commitment brokered did not come easy. According to several sources with direct knowledge of the discussions, for much of the day the leadership held out for its status quo position — that a vote would come only when success was assured, whatever that means precisely. In addition to the accountability issue, that made it likely the bill’s consideration would spill over into 2010, an election year for governor and the Legislature, the wrong time for taking action on controversial issues. Bitterness and some measure of distrust among the parties also proved a problem. Both Sampson and Klein did not mince words in letting Van Capelle know they were upset by remarks he made at ESPA’s October 22 fall dinner in Manhattan. Voicing frustration at what he characterized as allies unwilling to walk the walk after the LGBT community’s strong financial support for electing a Senate Democratic majority last year, Van Capelle had warned that if no vote happened on marriage equality, 'We can find other friends who will do that job for us and do it faster. We know such friends exist.'"
New Yorkers held a rally in Union Square last night opposing the anti-gay vote in Maine on Tuesday, and looking ahead to next week, when Governor David Paterson has promised to call a special session of the state senate.
Watch OurSceneTV's report on the rally, AFTER THE JUMP...
According to Gay City News, both Empire State Pride Agenda executive director Alan van Capelle and State Senator Tom Duane are still confident about a vote on marriage equality:
"Alan Van Capelle, the executive director of the Empire State Pride Agenda (ESPA), the state’s LGBT lobby group, and out gay Chelsea Democratic Senator Thomas K. Duane, the measure’s lead sponsor, both reiterated their confidence in the wake of an election in which a Republican marriage equality supporter was forced from an upstate congressional race and voters in Maine narrowly opted to repeal the gay marriage law there. 'Based on my conversations with senators, they are planning on being in Albany next week,' said Van Capelle. 'That said, the governor is still required to issue an extraordinary session calendar. Our community should rest assured we have full commitment from the governor that the marriage equality bill will be on the very first calendar.' ... In a statement issued late in the day on November 4, Duane said, 'I have so much confidence that New York will soon be the next state to enact marriage equality. I strongly believe that my colleagues from both sides of the aisle will step up and do the right thing.' Since the spring, Duane has consistently said he has the votes –– among them, as yet unnamed Republicans –– to ensure passage of the marriage bill."
More at Gay City News on the impact of Maine and the NY 23rd district Congressional race.
Watch OurSceneTV's report on the NYC rally, AFTER THE JUMP...
Said Bloomberg: "I don’t know how to get it to come up [ on the Senate floor]. If you want my honest opinion, [the Senate leadership is unlikely to move a gay marriage bill] when I don’t see these guys willing to stand up for less controversial issues."
Now, three prominent New York politicians and a gay rights leader have stated just the opposite — that marriage equality may very well be up for a vote this fall.
Bloomberg's Democratic opponent, comptroller William Thompson, responded: "Once again Mike Bloomberg is talking out of both sides of his mouth. The fact of the matter is Mike will stand up in press conferences
and talk the talk but at the end of the day he never walks the walk.
Mike Bloomberg has consistently supported the Republican Party and its
anti-gay marriage agenda."
As far as I know, the mayor hasn’t been in on any discussions with Senate Democrats or with Senate Republicans on strategy for getting marriage passed. There have been people involved with his administration that I’ve talked with and others may have spoken to, but I don’t know of the mayor personally speaking to anyone. I remain confident it will get done this fall...His offer to come testify is the easiest political commitment to make, but the time for hearings is past. I held hearings on the bill years ago. I can’t say he’s expended much political capital on this."
Empire State Pride Agenda executive director Alan van Capelle was equally dismissive of Bloomberg's remarks: "We don’t agree with Mayor Bloomberg’s statement that marriage equality does not have a chance of coming up for a vote this fall. The mayor is focused on New York City and his race for re-election, and not on the details involved in moving the marriage bill forward in Albany. We know from the work that we do daily on this issue that marriage equality is still very much in play in 2009.”
And NYC Council Speaker Christine Quinn chimed in as well: "I disagree with the mayor. I do believe that there is a real potential and a very real potential in the near future...If I knew exactly when [the measure would move] I would probably know who was going to win the trifecta at Belmont. I don’t see any reason to think that there is not potential to have this vote."
Bloomberg also claimed in the interview that he could sway key GOP Senators (specifically Brooklyn’s Martin Golden and Queens’ Frank Padavan) to make a 'yes' vote when marriage equality comes to the floor, however, Gay City News reports that Padavan's office says that the Senator and the mayor have not had any discussions about the issue.
The Empire State Pride Agenda recently launched a new 'Call Your Senator' campaign. Hope lives.
Duane, Thompson, Come Out Swinging on Bloomberg Comments [gay city news]