Thursday, June 16, 2011

New York Assembly Passes Marriage Equality 80-63

Openly gay Assemblymember Daniel O'Donnell
For the fourth time since 2007, a marriage equality bill has passed the lower house of the New York State legislature, this time with a vote of 80-63 on Wednesday.

Gay City News reports:
This was the Assembly’s fourth vote on marriage equality, each one of them successful, since 2007. Upper West Side Assemblyman Daniel O’Donnell, an out gay Democrat, is the lead sponsor.

On the heels of two Republican senators pledging their “yes” votes in recent days, the majority in that chamber met behind closed doors for more than four hours on Wednesday morning, only to announce they would pick up the discussion again the following day. Senators who have yet to firmly commit to one side or another refused comment or stuck to their noncommittal positions.

The public count of Senate supporters stands at 31, one vote shy of a majority.

The Assembly floor debate offered a preview into the rhetoric that might soon be echoed in the Senate, as members voting yes made passionate speeches supporting equality and a largely tepid opposition raised concerns about infringement on religious values and the dangers of “redefining marriage.”


Supporters lined up to dismiss the standard opposition claim that marriage is a timeless institution that would be irreparably harmed by the governor’s legislation.

“It’s actually not true,” said Manhattan Assemblyman Dick Gottfried, who was the originating sponsor of marriage equality legislation, handing off that role to O’Donnell in 2007. “If we were to look honestly at what the institution of marriage was as little as a hundred years ago, we would be looking at an institution we scarcely recognize.”

Like several of his colleagues, Gottfried pointed out that the history of marriage included treating women as property and not allowing mixed-race marriages.

“It was all about property, it was all about hierarchy,” he said. “It was not at all about love.”
Hopefully the fourth time is the charm!

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