Friday, September 22, 2006
"We... call upon our representatives in the New York State Senate and Assembly to pass legislation ending discrimination against New York's tens of thousands of loving, committed same-sex couples by allowing them to legally marry in New York State. The July 6 decision by the New York State Court of Appeals has placed this issue squarely in the hands of the state legislature and it is now up to you to recognize the importance of marriage for same-sex couples and their children. There are more than 1,500 protections and responsibilities denied same- sex couples simply because they are blocked from marrying in New York State. These life and death protections include health insurance, joint adoption, medical decision making authority, inheritance, child custody, pension benefits, Family Court protections from domestic violence and eligibility for public support programs like Workers Compensation. The State of New York has a proud tradition of extending equal protection and civil rights to all of its citizens. The City of Rochester has also, historically, been at the forefront of struggles for equality. Whether it has been the fight against slavery, or the Women's Suffrage and Civil Rights movements, Rochester has worked diligently to secure equal treatment under the law for all Americans. We as a City have already taken important steps to protect our lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender citizens and their families. We have passed sexual orientation and gender identity and expression non-discrimination ordinances, offer domestic partner benefits to City employees, and respect marriages of same-sex couples performed in Canada, just to name a few. We are asking you to do what we cannot: guard the dignity of all New Yorkers and their families by granting them the rights and privileges associated with marriage that they so desperately need and deserve. There are those who wish to deny this access through changes in state law. We are asking you to withhold support of these efforts when or if asked and, we strongly encourage you to become a sponsor or co-sponsor of marriage equality legislation. If you cannot be a sponsor or co-sponsor, please support it and work with your respective legislative leaders to bring such legislation to a vote in each chamber early in the upcoming session." Rochester NY City Council, September 21, 2006.