April 14th, 2009
04:33 PM ET
9 years ago

NY gov to call on lawmakers to pass same-sex marriage bill

A New York lawmaker tells CNN that the state's governor will soon announce plans to introduce a bill legalizing same-sex marriage in the state.

A New York lawmaker tells CNN that the state's governor will soon announce plans to introduce a bill legalizing same-sex marriage in the state.

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."

Duane agreed.

"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)

Filed under: David Paterson • New York • Same-sex marriage
soundoff (62 Responses)
  1. christo

    awesome I don't think gay marriage would hurt anyone, if your thinking too much about it then you better re check your own sexuality. If your comfortable in your own skin then why should it matter to you. Live your life for yourself and stop forcing your views down other people lifestyles.

    April 14, 2009 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  2. ADK_Mike

    Hooray for our Governor!
    Being straight, I cannot comprehend homosexuality. The thought of it is repulsive and bewildering. This, however, is no basis to deny any citizen the right to marry the loved one of their choice. We mustn't deny anyone benefits and rights because of a difference in "taste".

    April 14, 2009 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  3. Big B

    Heterosexual Alpha male here and honestly who cares if same sex folks want to marry? I think there are more important things to worry about nowadays.

    April 14, 2009 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  4. Mari

    Even though I am a "liberal" on most issues, I believe that a Civil Union should be sufficient for the LGBT community.

    I have nothing against LGBT folks, they are entitled to the same rights as everyone else. However, marriage is a religious institution, not a civil right.

    I realize that not everyone believes in God, and so religious values and beliefs do not apply to them. Fine.

    Marriage has been a religious rite for centuries. A Civil Union, gives you all the legal rights without the religious being involved.

    We are all created equal in God's eyes, you do not need marriage to give you equality. Again, marriage is not a civil right.


    April 14, 2009 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  5. Pete

    Bryan, marriage is most certainly NOT a "religious" union. In fact, no one is going to force your church to perform a gay marriage. Marriage is a legal contract endorsed by the SECULAR state.

    April 14, 2009 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  6. Where is the bipartisan leadership?

    This reminds me of George Ryan's death penalty crusade to distract attention from his corruption.

    April 14, 2009 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  7. ADK_Mike

    Oh, and anyone spouting anything religious.....
    Shhhhh. Church and State.....remember?
    You CANNOT use religion in this debating this topic.

    April 14, 2009 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  8. Mike- Kansas City MO

    Way to go Governor Paterson! It is about time!

    To those who do not believe gays should marry, you are free to move to another country at anytime. Everyone should have the right to marry the person they love.
    Note: I said person( i.e human being). I don't believe in the fear mongers saying that this will lead to beastiality or even pologymy.

    It is time for FULL Equal rights for all US Citizens, and that includes marriage, and the benefits that come with it.

    April 14, 2009 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  9. Ravi

    Its interesting how the critics of same-sex marriage say that it ruins the institution of marriage, or whatever....I'm pretty sure the 50% divorce rate in this country did that already. Who are you to judge whether a person can be happy or not? I see no difference between people like Watchful Cowboy and Muslim extremists. Who cares if other people have different views and values than you do? Acceptance of other people's beliefs is a major part of the foundation in which America is built upon.

    Kudos to Governer Patterson for taking a very public and supportive stance of such a progressive measure (the fact that same-sex marriage proposals are considered progressive is sickening, by the way). Here is a guy that is putting the proper and just course of action ahead of political agenda, and he should be commended for doing so.

    April 14, 2009 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  10. FreeNLovIt

    As a Christian, it is sad to see these types of measures being passed, but then all it means is that we are all ONE step closer to the rapture.

    April 14, 2009 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  11. FreeNLovIt

    In the Old Testament, you are STONED to death. It is morally wrong.

    April 14, 2009 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  12. John

    Since when is "disses" as word?

    April 14, 2009 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  13. arithmetic is liberal

    Fair is Fair April 14th, 2009 4:52 pm ET

    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?

    Careful what you wish for. LBJ said he supported segregation until pen hit paper with the Civil Rights Act in 1965.

    April 14, 2009 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  14. Dace Tucson AZ

    The Mormon churches hate machine has enough money to fund and man a defeat in every single state allowing gays to be equal human citizens just as they did in CA. The deluded hateful right wing religions pay no tax and create political outcomes they pay for all the time – when will they be taxed for their political organizing?

    April 14, 2009 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  15. arithmetic is liberal

    Michelle April 14th, 2009 4:56 pm ET
    Visit TrueTolerance.org

    If 'True Tolerance' is anything like 'Fair & Balanced', 'Compassionate Conservative', 'Clear Skies Act', 'Fair Tax', or any number of Orwellian newspeak terms packaged by the right wing, then I have to say 'thanks, but no thanks.'

    April 14, 2009 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  16. Adam

    4:34 Heidi
    He's just doing this because his poll numbers are low and he faces not being elected on his own.

    That makes a lot of sense, considering voters typically vote overwhelmingly against gay marriage.

    April 14, 2009 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  17. boered1

    If I hear one more time that marriage is a religious act and not a governmental act I will puke!!!

    When the first Justice of the Peace presided over the first marriage it became a governmental act. When the government can decide how many people can be married (ie monogamy over polygamy) it became a governmental act. Simple fact a marriage within a church must STILL be certified by the state or it is not recognized as a marraige. All these taken together means marriage is a civil governmental act NOT a religious sacriment and as such there is NO LEGAL reason why consenting adults (note I did not say animals who cannot give consent nor children who are not leagally allowed to sign contracts and therefore cannot give consent) cannot amrry so I applaud this move by the governor of NY now if only the radical religious right could learn to distinguish between what they believe and reality and understand that there are MANY in this country (including the founding fathers) who do not want this to be a "Christian Country" instead we want a country where you are free to worship as you please and not able to force another to follow what you worship.

    April 14, 2009 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  18. gay in Canada

    Same sex marriage has been legal in Canada, and in many other countries now for several years. It is wonderful to live in a country where ALL it's citizens are created equal, under God, indivisible. Too bad the U.S. doesn't go by these words...Oh wait, they do...how hypocritcical???

    April 14, 2009 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  19. Regular People

    Love the sinner, hate the sin is a crock.

    It's love the sinner, FORGIVE the sin.

    Oh, and BTW- homosexuality, as we know it today- isn't a sin according to the bible. Churches, religions and man might say it is, but not the supposed "word" of god.

    So many xians never took a class to understand the context or history of their own "holy" book.

    If religions didn't change with the whim of who ever was rich, or crowned as king, or who was noble or powerful at the moment, they might gain more credibility. But they won't, which is why we need SEPARATION of church and state.

    April 14, 2009 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  20. Dexter Skagway

    Same-sex marriage harms no one. All the hype and hoopla is nothing but a group of zealots who got everybody worked up over something that has no negative impact at all on them personally.

    C'mon, Christians, stop humiliating yourselves with your aggressive bigotry! It's 'love thy neighbor," not "oppress thy neighbor"; it's "vengeance is mine, sayeth the Lord", not "go be my self-appointed vigilante, sayeth the lord." It's not "do unto others with the full force of your hate."

    I am astounded at the depths of Christian hate and hypocrisy we have seen lately.

    April 14, 2009 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  21. Felonious Monk

    Why does religion (ie superstition) need to be involved with goverment?

    April 14, 2009 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  22. Gene

    Very smart move in a place as liberal as NYC. Unfortunately, I truly believe that he's just doing this as an effort to boost popularity points there.. not because he truly believes this is right. Maybe I'm wrong.. who knows 🙂

    April 14, 2009 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  23. Mark

    Mari said:

    "However, marriage is a religious institution, not a civil right."

    1. Wrong. As soon as the government gave tax breaks to "married" couples and issued "marriage" licenses and let "marriage" determine hospital visitation rights and a host of other civil issues, it became a civil issue and the meaning of the word changed irrevocably. You'll just have to deal with that and live your OWN "married" life based on your definition.

    2. Plenty of religions and denominations believe in "marriage" and same-sex relationships as well. Your religious beliefs have no business telling other religions how to view the issue, thus have no business determining my civil rights.

    Bottom line, this equality is far past time. Go to it, NY! And if you don't like same-sex marriage, don't have one. YOUR religion has no business determining MY rights.

    April 14, 2009 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  24. Allen

    This is getting ridiculous. Why not have government get out of the business of recognizing marriages. Let the churches recognize marriages, and let the states recognize legal unions or whatever they want to call them. And when I say the government, that's all I mean. I don't mean that you or I should have to "recognize" a union that goes against our beliefs.

    April 14, 2009 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  25. Lisa

    You are right when you say marriage is a legal contract;
    Just like 666 is the mark of the beast... you have a right to sell their souls if they chose…

    For Christians marriage is more than just a contract... It a sacred covenant, a binding and obedient love between three party combine together as one God, man and woman… it will never be three men… God is not in the midst of that confusion…

    April 14, 2009 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
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