David Paterson Hub

Governor Paterson on Marriage Vote: 'I Understand the Anger'

New York Governor David Paterson released a statement in reaction to the marriage vote:

Patrson “It is always darkest before the dawn. The darkest day in the history of the American civil rights movement was in 1857 when the Supreme Court ruled against Dred Scott, making slavery legal north of the 36th parallel. That was the darkest day for the abolitionists. But when we look back in history, we forget that this was only five years before the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation in September of 1862.

“I understand the anger; I understand the frustration; I understand the feeling of betrayal; and I understand the profound disappointment of those who came to Albany today thinking they could get married tomorrow. But I am also here to tell you that we are not back to square one.

“Governors don’t come to the Senate floor after losing a vote. This one does, because this is a fight that is bigger than one legislative vote. This is a civil rights issue. Marriage equality is as important as the emancipation of any group from oppression and the granting of equal rights to any community.

“I believe in my heart that if people had voted their consciences today, we would be celebrating marriage equality tonight. That did not happen. As disappointed as we are today, let’s get up tomorrow and redouble our efforts. We are going to lay the foundation to make people feel comfortable to vote their conscience and not fear political backlash.

“Now we know who we have to talk to. We are going to quash the intimidation; we are going to alleviate the pressure; we are going to move this issue back to the floor of the Senate and we are going to have marriage equality in New York State and equal rights for everybody.”

Paterson Suggests Marriage Vote Being 'Held Hostage' in NY Senate

Some interesting insight from Irene Liu at the Times Union regarding the marriage equality vote in New York. Senators are wrangling with a deficit reduction plan (DRP), after which an agreement has been made to vote on marriage equality.

Times Union:Meny

When asked by New York Times reporter Jeremy Peters about whether the path is clear for a vote in the Senate, Paterson said:

“I’ve had my legislation ready since late April. So it won’t because of our legislation that we wouldn’t get a vote on marriage equality. What I would say is that it is on the special session calendar. We are in special session. We have cleared the roadblocks away. The fact that the marriage equality somehow was manipulated into being part of the DRP program is something that I think is reprehensible.

I don’t think that these issues stand anywhere but on their own. And that these issues deserve a vote up or down. So for anyone who has tried to influence my position on the DRP because they know that I am interested in passing marriage equality, I think that is a grotesque twist of justice and a rather insensitive way to lobby here in New York State...

Peters asked a follow-up: “It’s my understanding that the Senate has been preparing for a vote. Have you been told that as well?”

After a long pause, Paterson asked, “Did the Senate tell you that?”

Peters replied, “Let’s just say it’s out there in the ether.”

“Well, go back to the ether and find out,” Paterson replied to laughter from the audience.

In other words, nothing unusual going on in the NY Senate.

New: NY Senator Tally on Marriage Equality and Vote Deal Insight


New York local station NY1 has posted a new tally of senators with regard to the marriage equality bill.

Patersonalbany "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.'"

NY Senate Promises Marriage Equality Debate and Vote in '09


Some good news did come out of Albany yesterday:

"An agreement was reached to bring the marriage equality legislation for a vote before the end of the year and we will commit the full spectrum of our energies to making marriage equality a reality in the state of New York," said Austin Shafran, spokesman for the Senate Majority Conference.

Gay City News reports:

"Flanked by four members of the State Senate Democratic majority and the leader of New York's LGBT lobby, Governor David A. Paterson announced an agreement by which the Senate leadership has, for the first time, agreed to debate and vote on a marriage equality bill before the end of 2009. 'This is the first time that the Senate leadership has indicated that it will support a vote on marriage equality,' the governor said. 'This is a stunning and very happy development in this process. I will continue to place marriage equality on any special sessions that I call on Monday and Tuesday because I feel that the bill should be debated immediately. However, I have profound respect for the leadership of the Senate and the process that they took to bring us to this vote.' Paterson was joined by the Senate's deputy majority leader, Jeffrey Klein, who represents portions of the Bronx and Weschester, Brooklyn Senator Eric Adams, Manhattan Senator Eric Schneiderman, and Thomas K. Duane, the out gay Chelsea senator who is the lead sponsor of the marriage equality bill. Alan Van Capelle, the executive director of the Empire State Pride Agenda, was also on hand."

New York Marriage Equality: The Latest [tr]
Update from Albany on the New York Marriage Equality Vote [tr]

On Deck, New York Marriage Equality Bill's Fate in Albany Uncertain

The NYT's take on marriage equality's chances this week: unclear.

Nystatehouse "Advocates on both sides of the issue lobbied senators over the weekend, but it was still unclear on Sunday whether the measure could attract the 32 votes needed in the State Senate for approval. (The Assembly has already passed the bill.) Only three state legislatures nationwide have voted, without the intervention of the courts, to approve same- sex marriage. In New York, Democrats hold a shaky 32-to-30 majority in the Senate, and some senators oppose allowing the legislation to come to the floor for a vote. Those who favor the bill say they realize they are risking another significant defeat but are determined to get legislators on record on the issue. They also say that now may be the best time to push lawmakers to take up the bill, given that next year all 212 members of the Legislature will face re-election. Estimates vary, but supporters of the bill believe they can count on about 25 votes for the legislation at this time."

Michelangelo Signorile makes an interesting point with regard to the recent NY-23 election: "I was actually wondering how the Dede Scozzafava debacle would play out and I did think in fact it would scare Republicans in the Senate on marriage for gays. The Republican Party in New York has known for some time that state Republicans will be dinosaurs soon, as all the surrounding states have marriage equality and the Northeast Republican is heading for extinction and needs to make changes. However, those with sites on national office, certainly saw what happened to Scozzafava and took notice. If the local party is, perhaps, ready for the change, the national party is light years away."

We spoke with David Paterson over the weekend on the issue. He'd like to know where everyone stands.

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...

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


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