More than 1,000 gay rights supporters converged on New York’s state capitol Albany on Tuesday to rally in front of the statehouse and visit 200 legislators in what is being called the largest gay rights event in the city since 1971.
The rally was buoyed by Governor Eliot Spitzer’s efforts last week introducing a bill that would make gay marriage legal in the state.
While the mood was upbeat, organizers acknowledged the uphill battle required to get the legislation passed, and several conservatives were speaking out against it, according to the Journal News:
“A spokesman for Assembly Minority Leader James Tedisco, R-Schenectady, said that a majority of Assembly Republicans are against same-sex marriage. Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno, R-Brunswick, Rensselaer County, has said that the issue is not a priority and has expressed opposition to gay marriage. ‘I think they (activists) ought to discuss that with the governor, since that is a priority of the governor, and not a priority in the Senate,’ Bruno told reporters at a news conference yesterday. He said he would not support changing the law to allow same-sex marriage, and he’s not alone. ‘It’s the wrong direction for the state to change the definition of something that predates human history,’ said Dennis Poust, spokesman for the New York State Catholic Conference. ‘For the governor, in his first year, to overturn one of the fundamental building blocks of society is out of line and a poor decision on his part.'”
Gay rights groups, like New York’s Empire State Pride Agenda, however, say that it’s only a matter of time. Said Ross Levi: “We also know that New Yorkers are on our side. Our issues are continuing to poll in the majorities even on marriage and so the community is really here to make the legislators do what they know New York wants to have happen anyway.”