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NY Assemblyman Danny O'Donnell and Actor Anthony Rapp Speak Out Against Romney: VIDEO

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Daniel O'Donnell, the lead sponsor of the marriage equality bill in the Empire State and the first out gay New York Assemblyman (and brother of Rosie), and Rent actor Anthony Rapp are the latest public figures to speak out in the "Mitt Gets Worse" campaign, formed recently to expose Romney's anti-LGBT past, and his agenda.

Watch their testimonials, AFTER THE JUMP...

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NOM's Maggie Gallagher vs NY Assemblyman Daniel O'Donnell on Marriage Equality Victory: VIDEO

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NOM's Maggie Gallagher and NY Assemblyman Daniel O'Donnell discuss the marriage equality victory in New York on PBS Newshour. Gallagher says Republicans "will pay" for their "yes" votes.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Watch: Don Lemon Chats With NY Assemblyman Daniel O'Donnell and NOM's Bryan Brown About Marriage Equality

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Yesterday, Don Lemon devoted a portion of his CNN newscast to the potential introduction of marriage equality to New York state. During the segment things started to get pretty heated between the two guests invited to participate in the discussion: openly gay New York Assemblyman Daniel O'Donnell and NOM's anti-gay president Bryan Brown. Watch the clip, AFTER THE JUMP.

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Assemblyman Daniel O'Donnell Introduces Bill to Legalize Same-Sex Marriage in New York

Assemblyman Daniel O'Donnell (pictured)has introduced a bill to legalize same-sex marriage in New York, the Times Union's Jimmy Vielkind:

Odonnell It’s unclear whether it will advance through the Assembly (or whether Speaker Sheldon Silver might wait for the Cuomo bill, or whether there’s a switch-a-roo….) but O’Donnell included this sentence after the happy quotes in his press release: “In order to ensure the bill has the time necessary to be taken up by the Assembly before the end of this year’s session, Assembly Member O’Donnell plans to circulate A7600 among his colleagues for co-sponsorship until May 25th.”

We’ll see how the next two weeks go. To me, this indicates something of a rift between legislators who have been championing the bill — O’Donnell and Sen. Tom Duane — and the new lobbying front, with which Cuomo is closely coordinating.

City Room has more:

Gay rights advocates gathered in Albany on Monday to rally near the Capitol and to lobby legislators individually. Lawmakers in both chambers had been deferring to Mr. Cuomo, who has made legalizing same-sex marriage a top priority and this week began a statewide tour to bolster support for that and other issues, to introduce his own bill. But at a time when no Senate Republican has yet voiced support for a same-sex marriage bill — and prospects for victory seem uncertain at best — Mr. Cuomo has held off, with the apparent support of advocates and Senate Democrats who support the bill.

“It is obvious that now, more than ever before, the people cannot, and will not, wait any longer for our government to enshrine equality for all in our state’s laws,” Mr. O’Donnell said in a statement.

The bill is live here.

Meanwhile, the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) has introduced a new ad and pledging $500,000 for advertising and lobbying. NOM has pledged another $1 million to oppose candidates who support marriage equality in the 2012 elections.

Watch NOM's ad, AFTER THE JUMP...

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New York Governor Paterson Signs Comprehensive Anti-Bullying Bill

New York Governor David Paterson today signed a comprehensive anti-bullying bill called the Dignity for All Students Act.

Paterson The bill, which prohibits harassment "with respect to certain non-exclusive protected classes, including, but not limited to, the student's actual or perceived "race, color, weight, national origin, ethnic group, religion, religious practice, disability, sexual orientation, gender or sex," requires schools to:

"Revise their codes of conduct and adopt policies intended to create a school environment free from harassment and discrimination; Adopt guidelines to be used in school training programs to raise awareness and sensitivity of school employees to these issues and to enable them to respond appropriately; and Designate at least one staff member in each school to be trained in non-discriminatory instructional and counseling methods and handling human relations.

Said Paterson in a statement: "Every student has the right to a safe and civil educational environment, but far too often young people are ruthlessly targeted by bullies. Bullying and harassment have disrupted the education of too many young people, and we in government have a responsibility to do our part to create learning environments that help our children prosper. I am proud to sign this bill into law as it will help ensure that students are protected from harassment, discrimination and bullying at school grounds and at school functions."

Added State Senator Thomas Duane, the bill's sponsor: 

Duane "I applaud Governor Paterson for his strong support as he signs The Dignity for All Students Act (DASA) into law. DASA was one of the first bills I introduced in 1999 when I was newly elected to the State Senate. Now, after more than a decade of struggle, and with the Governor's support from the beginning to today, DASA will finally become a reality. Its intention is simple: No child should be terrified to go to school due to bullying and harassment. DASA is unique in that it focuses on education and the prevention of bullying and harassment before they begin rather than punishment after the fact. Further, the new law will include protections for students of transgendered experience -- the first time such provisions will be enshrined in New York State law. DASA will improve the quality of life for all of New York's public school students and will enhance their ability to thrive in a safe and nurturing educational environment."

Added Assemblyman Daniel O'Donnell, the bill's sponsor in the Assembly: "Too many students are bullied based on real or perceived differences with their classmates. Every student deserves an environment free of harassment and discrimination, an environment that allows every child to reach his or her full potential. For too long, our educational system has been blind to the plight of these students. I am proud that the Assembly led the way on this important issue, and that today, the Dignity for All Students Act is finally signed into law."

The law takes effect on July 1, 2012 — although certain rules and regulations related to implementation may take effect before that.


Broadway Stars to Rally for Marriage Equality in NYC on Sunday

Broadway Impact, the Empire State Pride Agenda, and Marriage Equality New York are putting on a major rally in NYC's Times Square on Sunday from 5-7 pm at Sixth Avenue and 44th street.

Hair2 According to Broadway Impact, "Audra McDonald, four-time Tony winner and star of ABC’s Private Practice, Cheyenne Jackson, star of Broadway's All Shook Up and Xanadu, and television’s Ugly Betty, will be singing and speaking out on the issue. Speakers in attendance will consist of Senator Tom Duane, who is sponsoring the marriage equality bill in the State Senate and New York State Assemblyman Daniel O’Donnell, brother of Broadway veteran Rosie O’Donnell. 

Hair's Tony-nominee Gavin Creel is hosting the event and will lead his fellow cast members in a performance from the show. Said Creel: “I am thrilled that we are able to come together as a community to urge people to take direct action by calling their State Senators. This peaceful rally is going to be about love – and the right to marry whoever it is that you love.”

More info here.


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