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Watch: Former NY Governor Paterson Accepts Award at Largest Fundraiser Ever for Transgender Rights

Paterson

Former New York Governor David Paterson was honored by the Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund at its benefit on Monday.

The Advocate reports:

Organizers said the sixth anniversary benefit for TLDEF raised $100,000, making it the “largest fund-raiser ever anywhere for transgender rights,” according to executive director Michael Silverman. Hosted by actress Laverne Cox, the event also honored film director Kimberly Reed, Dr. Christine McGinn of the Papillon Gender Wellness Center, and NCAA Division I basketball player Kye Allums. Special guests included New York City council speaker Christine Quinn, who joined TLDEF in celebrating this year’s victory of a new city policy to ensure that transgender applicants have equal access to marriage licenses.

Watch (via Boy in Bushwick) Paterson speak about transgender rights and his work for the LGBT community as governor, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Watch: Former NY Governor Paterson Accepts Award at Largest Fundraiser Ever for Transgender Rights" »


New York Governor Paterson Gives Up on Marriage Equality

Outgoing Governor David Paterson has given up on marriage equality in NY, at least on his watch:

Paterson Mr. Paterson described his frustrations over the defeat of the legislation, which was one of his top priorities, as he reflected on his legacy during an appearance on Tuesday evening at the Yale Club in Midtown Manhattan. He also criticized those who led the lobbying effort for its passage, saying they had pushed for action prematurely.

The governor said he had polled lawmakers in the past week to see if he should “take one more shot at marriage equality.” He cited the probability that the State Senate would switch to Republican control in January as a reason to push the bill now.

*****

Whatever the extent of Mr. Paterson’s inquiry, the responses he received evidently were not encouraging. The measure was not among the items he placed on the agenda for the special session he called on Monday, and he has indicated that, barring any unforeseen developments, he does not intend to call lawmakers back to Albany again before year’s end.

Paterson vowed to remain steadfast on the issue, even after leaving office:

“It’s probably the one issue that I will keep replaying in my mind because I really wanted it to happen on my watch as governor,” he said. “But I will come back — free of charge, by the way — to lobby the next time it comes up.”


Watch: NY State Senator Tom Duane, Others Arrested in Civil Disobedience Over AIDS Housing Bill

Duane

New York State Senator Tom Duane was arrested yesterday in an act of civil disobedience in protest of the veto of an HIV/AIDS funding bill vetoed by Governor David Paterson earlier this year, WNYC reports:

Demo "The bill would insure that poor people living with HIV/ AIDS wouldn't have to spend more than 30 percent of their income on rent. Advocates argue the bill saves money in the long run, by lowering the rate of evictions and homelessness. Governor David Paterson vetoed the bill at Mayor Michael Bloomberg's urging. Both men call it an unfunded mandate that neither the city or state can afford. Advocates say the bill would affect about 10,000 low income New Yorkers living with HIV and AIDS."

You may recall Duane's powerful, emotional speech on the bill on the Senate floor from July of last year.

Duane and the heads of several AIDS organizations held up traffic for about 10 minutes before their arrest, and are hoping to get Paterson to reverse his veto.

Watch Duane speaking at the protest before his arrest, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Watch: NY State Senator Tom Duane, Others Arrested in Civil Disobedience Over AIDS Housing Bill" »


Hundreds Gather For Clementi Vigils in NY, NJ

Silencekills

Hundreds of people in both New Jersey and New York gathered last night to remember Tyler Clementi, the Rutgers University student who committed suicide last week after two of his classmates transmitted his sexual encounter over the internet.

In New Jersey, where the school's based, students and faculty gathered to commemorate their peer, and Rutgers President Richard McCormick described the school's vigil as "an opportunity to reaffirm our commitment to the values of civility, dignity, compassion and respect for one another."

Meanwhile, across the river in the Big Apple, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, who's a lesbian, told supporters to "send a message to those ignorant individuals that they're not in the mainstream."

Outgoing Gov. David Paterson, meanwhile, used the opportunity to promise legislation aimed at cyberbullying. Whether he has time to enact such a vow remains uncertain, especially since Albany's famously dysfunctional. Still, it would be a great platform for Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Andrew Cuomo who, as the New York Times pointed out this weekend, hasn't done nearly enough for when it comes to gay rights:

He could have pursued more civil rights cases [as state Attorney General], and he remained virtually silent on the same-sex marriage bill when his voice might have made a difference in the State Senate debate. Now that he is the Democratic candidate for governor, he should explain to voters how he plans to press that fundamental right forward...

I've included footage from the rallies, AFTER THE JUMP....

Continue reading "Hundreds Gather For Clementi Vigils in NY, NJ" »


New York Governor David Paterson Signs Law Allowing Unmarried Partners, Including Gays, to Adopt

Unmarried partners, including gay couples, may now adopt children in New York state.

NY 1 reports: Ny

"Unmarried partners, including gay couples, are now free to jointly adopt a child in New York State. Governor David Paterson signed a law making the change on Sunday. The law also puts 'married couple' in the adoption statute, in place of what used to read 'husband and wife.' Bill sponsors say that is meant to ensure children get insurance and other benefits from both adults, as well as lifelong support even if couples split up."

Said Assembly member Linda Rosenthal, a Manhattan Democrat and chief sponsor, to the AP: "Because same sex couples can’t get married and some heterosexual people don’t want to get married, they were not allowed to adopt a non-related child together. If there is a foster child that neither is related to, they had to do it separately. What happens often is one does it, and the other says, ’Yeah, I’ll get to it.’ But it’s a costly endeavor. It’s a separate procedure for both."


NY Gov Paterson Vetoes Bill Offering Rent Relief to AIDS Patients

In July 2009, I posted a mesmerizing, emotional video of New York State Senator Thomas Duane delivering a 3 am speech in support of a bill preventing people living with HIV or AIDS and receiving public assistance from having to pay more than 30 percent of their monthly income on rent.

Paterson The bill passed, and made its way through the proper channels to Governor Paterson's desk, where he vetoed it this weekend, saying it was unclear where the money would come from to pay for it.

Said Paterson: 

“This is my most difficult veto. I recognize, sadly, the history of the inadequacy of services government has brought to bear for those with H.I.V./AIDS. I have pledged not to impose unfunded mandates on cash-strapped localities, and to prevent the state from taking on additional financial burdens outside the budget process without an identified funding source.”

State Senator Thomas Duane reacted with anger, releasing this statement:

Tomduane "Governor Paterson’s veto of the HIV/AIDS Services Administration (HASA) 30% rent cap bill is an incredible tragedy. Thousands of New Yorkers living with HIV/AIDS who receive housing assistance from HASA will continue to be forced to live on $11 and change a day because all the rest of their monthly income -- in some cases upwards of 70% -- must go towards paying rent. While people in all of New York's other rental assistance programs have their rents capped at 30% of income, these women and men will continue to worry about how they are going to survive each month instead of focusing on staying well. It is inexcusable that New York would make these people who are ill decide between buying winter gloves or underwear, between buying toilet paper or a Metrocard to get to a doctor's appointment, between buying toothpaste to brush their teeth or laundry detergent to wash their clothes. This veto takes away these HASA clients’ ability to afford fresh fruit and vegetables to maintain their strength and to purchase over-the counter medicine at the drug store when they have a cold. Affording a telephone and electricity is a struggle and buying stamps to send a letter to loved ones is cost prohibitive. Even simply going to a movie or taking the subway to the park to escape the pressures of life for a few hours is impossible. This is an incredible injustice and it is shameful that New York will allow this to continue.

...There was no valid reason to veto this bill. Time and time again I, Assemblymember Deborah Glick, and so many other elected officials have proven that this legislation is cost-effective for the City and State. Mayor Bloomberg aggressively lobbied against the legislation claiming it would cost the City of New York $16 million dollars. Yet a cost analysis conducted by Shubert Botein Policy Associates projected a savings of over $19 million from prevented housing evictions. Inexplicably, under extreme pressure from Mayor Bloomberg, the Governor decided to ignore this solid evidence and vetoed the bill. HASA clients: The Governor and the Mayor let you down. Your hopes were raised when both the Senate and Assembly passed the legislation in overwhelming numbers. You traveled to Albany week after week, telling your stories and providing hard data time and time again. “We have lost this chance to right this wrong but you have my pledge to continue the fight."

Watch Duane's amazing floor speech from 2009, AFTER THE JUMP...


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