Gay Primary Source

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Governor of New York Introduces Same-Sex Marriage Bill

"...after the unfortunate accident of Proposition 8 that passed in California, it left a number of advocates in a place of complete confusion and stunned disbelief. Right here in New York at that time, we were musing about when marriage equality would pass in the Senate. Then we changed it to whether or not it could pass in the Senate. Then the discussion became whether or not political opposition could stop a bill from coming to the floor in the Senate. And now, that devolving of energy has moved to a place where we are actually debating whether or not the Governor should introduce a bill on marriage equality - when, in fact, the Governor introduced a bill on the same issue in 2007.

So what we have is not a crisis of issues. We have a crisis of leadership. We’re going to fill that vacuum today. I’m putting a stop to it. I’m introducing a bill to bring marriage equality to the state of New York. This is a civil rights issue. For too long, we have pretended that gay and lesbian New Yorkers have the same rights as their neighbors and their friends. For too long, we have allowed the perception that gay and lesbian New Yorkers have the same privileges as their own straight brothers and sisters or mothers and fathers. That is not the case. All have been the victims of what is a legal system that has systematically discriminated against all of them. And too many loving families right here in New York State have not received the legal recognition that they deserve.

We have all known the wrath of discrimination. We have all felt the pain and the insult of hatred. This is why we are all standing here today. We stand to tell the world that we want equality for everyone. We stand to tell the world that we want marriage equality in New York State.
Now I, honestly, I understand the trepidation and the anxiety that people are feeling right now. And I understand that there is always a risk in any action that you take. But what we have to really come out of this gathering today understanding is that rights should not be stifled by fear. What we should understand is that silence should not be a response to injustice, and that if we take no action we will surely lose; maybe we’ve already lost.

There is no gain without struggle. And there is no corner of this country or region of the world that, timelessly, has not been struggling to bring freedom to those who have never received it. And therefore, we struggle for that freedom for all people, even still here in the United States of America. And I am willing to help lead that struggle for marriage equality in New York.
And the reality is that for me, that this is the time to fulfill the dreams of our founding Constitution, which implored us to expand the rights of the Union. And our founding Constitution has been expanded to include African-Americans; the right of women to vote; the right of Americans to get citizenship here in this country, and we want to expand those rights to all people.

For too long, the gay and lesbian communities have been told that their rights and freedoms have to wait. For too long, New Yorkers have been told that a dysfunctional government is going to make them wait for openness and real transparency. This is real reform. The time has come to act. The time has come for leadership. The time has come to bring marriage equality to the State of New York."

New York State Governor David A. Paterson, April 16, 2009

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