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

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

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/04/14/art.paterson0414.gi.jpg caption="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. Lisa

    We need to vote to get rid of all those politician who dont stand for something...

    April 14, 2009 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  2. Celobrity

    Kudos to Paterson and the State of NY. I wish that CA had come through.

    I, personally, think that rights afforded to married people are unfair to single people. I think marriage should not be recognized by the State at all, but if heterosexuals are afforded certain rights when they marry, then so should the LGBT community. It's pretty simple.

    To the gay haters: Quit trying to make everyone in this country succumb to your ridiculous hate and fear! END DISCRIMINATION!!!!

    April 14, 2009 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  3. Anne E.

    A high five to Gov. Patterson.
    If it's good enough for four states, it's good enough for the rest of the country. I support anyone who's lucky enough to find love and love deeply enough, strongly enough to commit him or herself to someone, regardless of gender.
    And those supposedly God-fearing, Christian heterosexuals who tout the sanctity of marriage as exclusive to a man and woman ought not to be fearful or threatened - if you have a solid marriage of your own, why worry about anyone else?

    April 14, 2009 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  4. Jean2

    He needs some publicity!!!!!

    April 14, 2009 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  5. tired

    to Fair is Fair who said: "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?"

    President Obama also said he believes the States should decide on gay marriage themselves; therefore, there is no beef to bring to him.

    and, we call ourselves human beings, how about you?

    April 14, 2009 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  6. jake

    James Dobson announced himself that "we lost the cultural war"

    yes, you did!

    your religion has NO PLACE in our government! practice your religion in your homes, churches and private schools – but leave the rest of us out of it!

    April 14, 2009 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  7. boered1

    @ Michelle no one is asking you to change your beliefs, all that is being asked is for you tpo allow others, with differing beliefs, to be allowed to act on their beliefs also.
    I, personally, feel there are many laws that allow others to do things I do not approve of (divorce for example), I accept the laws and put a tighter limit on myself and have tired to teach my children that. So if you and yours wish to limit marriage for you and yours to heterosexual only that is your perogative and I fully support you and yours marrying only heterosexuals. HOWEVER when you say your belief and your feelings should determine what me and mine believe I disagree. I feel that as a free society we must be an accepting society. My problemn with the (what I call) radical religious rightwing is NOT their beliefs, they are free to believe what ever they want, my problem is when they try to force (or legislate) their beliefs onto me. NO ONE will EVER FORCE a church to provide homosexual marriages, nor will anyone force a church to go against their beliefs, so if you are a member of a group that does not homosexual marriages fine DO NOT HAVE THEM, much like abortion issues if yuou oppose abortion DO NOT HAVE ONE, teach your children not to have one and instead of protesting (and killing drs.) start offering to adopt the children, to pay for the neonatal care of the child. (I also believe if a father choses to have the child and the mother objects the father should have every legal right to require the woman to carry the child to term and turn it over to the father after birth). Sorry got on my soap box again

    April 14, 2009 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  8. Aimers

    To Lisa:
    Did you just say that anyone that marries heterosexually that does not get married in a church does not take their vows as seriously as you or other Christians?


    I take my marriage to be just as sacred and cherished as any Christian, even if I didn't get married in a church or officated by any specific clergy member.

    That's pretty sad if that's what you were insinuating by that comment. When people marry, I don't know of many that truly feel like it is a 'contract' (except those that specifically marry for socio-economic reasons and not for love), and go into the union just as dedicated as any Christian, Muslim, Buddist, Wiccan, etc.

    April 14, 2009 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  9. NClaw441

    Marriage is more than just a religious matter. It is a cultural thing, recognized for many thousands of years across all cultures as the primary family bond, around which all other family relationships revolve.

    The fact that government recognizes marriage, and not same-sex unions, reflects the cultural values that have withstood the test of time and that are worthy of protection. You may disagree, and perhaps legislators will also agree someday. For now, however, marriage is a defined term, and same-sex unions do not fit in that established definition.

    April 14, 2009 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  10. tired

    To everyone who claims that marriage is a religious institution: does that mean that an atheist couple should be stripped of all marriage status by the government? Someone who doesn't believe in god can still marry and have it recognized by individual states and the federal government. What is the difference?

    April 14, 2009 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  11. Mari

    @ Mark......... you missed my point! Government got involved in marriage! Marriage was around ............ for centuries before government started to issue licenses, etc. And just because the government issues licenses does not mean that marriage has changed, the definition of marriage remains.

    I realize that many religions have different views. However, Mark, the bottom line is that for those who believe that God, instituted the Sacrament of Marriage, it is still not a civil right.

    Mark, you are free to disagree. And I, too, am free to insist, that a civil union can give LBGT all the "rights" they need.

    Again.......... peace.

    April 14, 2009 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  12. AJ

    The "christian" zealots are just a hoot. If it were up to them we'd be putting the gay community in concentration camps and herding them into the "showers." Please, this kind of christian is nothing but a hate filled bigot, much like those who attempted to use Christianity against Arican American's in the 60's. Get a life and stop being concerned with other peoples business. If any of these "christians' would examine their own lives, they would find them severly lacking. But then again, the "christian" community has never been one for introspection.

    April 14, 2009 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
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