NY Governor Unveils Gay Marriage Bill

Posted by BBC News on Jun 14th, 2011 and filed under BBC News USA, Latest News Update. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

Gov. Cuomo Tuesday unveiled his long-awaited bill to legalize gay marriage in New York.

“For a long time, same-sex couples happen to be denied the freedom to wed, as well as 100s of rights that other New Yorkers take for granted,” Cuomo said.

“Marriage Equality is a matter of fairness and legal security for thousands of people in this state – not of religion or culture.”

The long anticipated proposal requires the same legal privileges for same-sex couples who marry as heterosexual partners.

And it prohibits local clerks from nixing marriage license applications from gay couples.

In hopes of appealing to key Senate Republican votes, Cuomo’s bill also has exemptions from anti-discrimination laws to religious groups and associated organizations.

The Knights of Columbus, for example, would be allowed to bar same sex couples from renting out catering hall space.

The bill also specifies that no clergy could be forced to execute marriage ceremonies for gay couples.

Gay marriage bills have cleared the Assembly three times in previous years, but has never passed the Senate.

This year, 30 senators, including one Republican, have focused on supporting the measure, meaning two more votes are needed.

Cuomo’s move came hours after New York’s top Catholic sought to slow energy toward a state Senate vote.

“The stampede is on,” Archibishop Timothy Dolan wrote in a blog post. “Our elected senators who’ve stood courageous in their refusal to capitulate on the state’s presumption to redefine marriage are revealing unrelenting pressure to cave-in.”

He equated the move to allow same-sex marriage to life in China or North Korea, where “authorities presumes daily to ‘redefine’ rights, relationships, values and natural law.”

“Please, not here!” Dolan continued. “We cherish true freedom, not as the license to do whatever we want, but the liberty to do what we ought.”

“We recognize that not every wish, urge, want, or chic cause is immediately a ‘right.’”

On the other hand, New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms, an evangelical Christian group, warned that Republicans who help gay marriage will face primaries next year as the GOP seeks to maintain control of the chamber.

“I know you are under tremendous pressure from both advocates for authentic marriage and same-sex ‘marriage’ activists, but today is not the time to abandon the core values of the Republican Party,” the letter reads.

“This is a very serious issue, with both short-term political ramifications and long-term societal ramifications.”

Supporters for homosexual marriage picked up four votes Monday, including from James Alesi, the first Republican to openly say he’ll support the measure.

The effort to legalize same-sex marriage is today two votes short, with at least four Republicans saying they are undecided.

The Senate GOP is expected to discuss the matter behind closed doors as soon as Tuesday and perhaps bring it to the floor to have an up-or-down vote by week’s end.

Anti-gay marriage promoters aren’t the only ones turning up pressure.

Gay rights organizations continue to press the problem.

“Sex and the City” actress Cynthia Nixon and New York Ranger Sean Avery are due at the Capitol Tuesday afternoon to press for the same-sex nuptials.

And New York Giants operator Jonathan Tisch filmed a video supporting gay marriage.

“The momentum we have been building all year has crested at a very opportune period,” said Ross Levi, executive director of the Empire State Pride Agenda, the state’s biggest gay lobby team.

“We’re greatly encouraged that the support in the Senate has become bipartisan,” he said. “We think this is a very good environment to go into these remaining times of the legislative session.”

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