NEW YORK (CNN) - Gov. David Paterson will announce plans Thursday to introduce same-sex marriage legislation in the state assembly, according to an assemblyman who was asked to be present for the announcement.
"The governor's office called me and asked if I would stand with the governor," said Micah Z. Kellner, a state assemblyman from Manhattan. "I said I will be thrilled to stand with the governor when he makes this announcement."
Paterson has expressed support for gay marriage in the past but when asked Tuesday, he would not confirm details of an announcement.
"There is clearly a problem in that those individuals who are gay or lesbian who would live in a civil union are still not entitled to somewhere between 1,250 and 1,300 civil protections" available to married couple, Paterson said. "... We would like to try to address that at some point in the near future."
Former Gov. Eliot Spitzer introduced the same bill in 2007. It passed in the Assembly 85-61 but died in the state Senate.
The bill's chief supporter in the Senate, Democratic state Sen. Thomas Duane, said Paterson "knows how hard it is to pass this kind of legislation."
"He worked to try to pass hate crime legislation for many years," Duane told CNN. "I know how strongly the governor feels about this kind of civil rights legislation."
Paterson has previously stated that he is committed to bringing "full marriage equality in New York State."
"No governor in the history of New York has been at the forefront," said Kellner. "He realizes it is the civil rights movement of the 21st century."
"I also know that he (Paterson) knows that this will be a defining moment," the senator said.
Bruce Anderson, interim executive director of the Lesbian Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center, said it's "high time that we have the opportunity to discuss this in Albany.
"We have waited very long," he added.
If the legislation passes this time around, it would make New York the fifth state to legalize same sex-marriage. Similar measures have become law, or are slated to become law, in Connecticut, Vermont, Massachusetts, and Iowa.
The bill is expected to pass in the Assembly due to its previous success, but it will need 32 votes to pass in the state Senate.
"We hope to have this bill passed at the end of June, at the end of the legislative session," said Kellner. "No one wants to bring this to the floor to fail, it would be a huge disaster. We want to make sure that if we bring this to the floor for a vote that it passes."
– CNN's Chloe Melas, Deborah Brunswick and Steve Kastenbaum contributed to this report
(Updated with Paterson comment)
He's just doing this because his poll numbers are low and he faces not being elected on his own.
Well, his numbers are already in the toilet, so this can't really hurt him per se...
I can't believe that progressive states like California and New York are so far behind states like IOWA!!!
Wootness, maybe I won't have to get married in CT but can stay in the home state instead!
It's about time – Americans everywhere deserve the right to choose who they should marry. Anyone who is against same-sex marriage is against equal rights and the freedom of choice – therefore, UN-American.
And they are welcome to move to a close-minded country that doesn't allow gay rights within it's borders. Like Saudi Arabia.
All the other countries that allow same-sex marriage have had increased economic activity thanks to the wedding booms...and no negative after-effects.
I also think the same sex: should marry the opposite..
I don't agree with same sex marriages – cause it isn't a marriage. Call it a union and give them the benefits. Love the sinner, hate the sin.
And I bet this doesn't get posted!
thank you, Gov!
good for the governor...
Way to GO!!!
This is typical of anyone who knows they won't or can't be re-elected so it's no surprise. I guess this is like Paterson giving a pardon.
He could call on the sky color to be changed to plaid...it won't work!! he is hated by the media and is doomed.
Now this decision will definitely won't get him re-elected. Bad move Patterson.
The Broker. April 14th, 2009 4:39 pm ET
I also think the same sex: should marry the opposite..
And you're welcome to it, if it makes you happy.
Just stay out of other people's business and we'll be just fine.
don't do it
call it a union
Watchful Cowboy April 14th, 2009 4:39 pm ET
Love the sinner, hate the sin.
... is blasphemy. Jesus said to love the sinner and FORGIVE the sin. Judgement is the providence of God Almighty and none else.
What can it hurt.......Life Goes On across America.
To all you progressives / liberals / democrats / whatever you're calling yourselves these days:
The prez is against gay marriage. Why don't you bring your beef to him?
Given the gay population of New York City's theater district alone, I am surprised it has taken this long for the idea to arise.
Heidi: Umm...how wrong you are. The Gov. has been wanting this to be leagizled so long before he has been a strong supporter of gay rights. You're talking about a guy who went to a gay rights rally as Gov!
I might be in CA and might not like everything that Paterson is doing in New York right now but, I support him on this him because it should be done.
Now I just need Prop 8 to be overruled. THANK YOU JERRY BROWN! cause he;s the man to do it.
Political silly season has returned.
I am against same-sex marriage, but I believe in freedom of choice. Your propaganda is forcing us that believe differently to accept something that is wrong in our eyes.
Marriage = 1 Man + 1 Woman (and it always will)
Laws cannot change my belief, or the way I teach my children.
Arthimetic – I will go with what you said – and doubt people in same sex marriages will be forgiven –
but you can have your hopes!
It isn't a "marriage" in your eyes. That doesn't much matter.
I also despise the "love the sinner, hate the sin" BS.This is judgemental and again, no one cares or SHOULD care what you, individually, think about the "sin" or "sinner". (And I daresay, there's plenty in your closet that we can judge YOU on).
The minorities (all minorities) should be protected from the tyranny of the majority. You're living proof.
Who are we to decide who is in love or not and who should be married. Not one of you right wing nut jobs are God so stop pretending like you are and speaking for him!
When are we going to really learn, gay marriage is not the way to go. Marriage is a religious act which shouldn't be touched by the government at all.
What we need are civil unions, and make them equal across the board. Stop protecting marriage and start promoting civil unions for straights and gays.