Why New York Must Pass â€˜Marriage Equality" Bill Now!
When we look back at America"s history, it is hard to believe there was a time when African-Americans were slaves and women did not have the right to vote.
When private clubs excluded Jews. When public transportation made blacks sit in the back of the bus.
When separate and unequal was the law of the land.
One day very soon, we hope, our children will look back with the same disbelief and ask: â€œWhy did your generation treat gay people as separate and unequal? Why was their love not recognized in the same legal way that we recognize heterosexual love?
Hopefully, we will soon have a better answer for them. â€œAll that is true, we will have to admit,Â â€œbut in 2011 in New York State everything changed. Finally, an enlightened legislature, led by a very smart governor named Andrew Cuomo, changed this shameful treatment of gay people and passed the â€˜Marriage Equality Act."
This is the moment that Albany can finally prove that it stands for justice and not just corruption and dysfunction.
In his short time in office, Governor Andrew Cuomo has leveraged overwhelming popularity to make necessary budget cuts and deliver an on-time budget. He brought together stakeholders in the health care industry to reform Medicaid and make some painful cuts in a collaborative way.
Now he tackles things like â€œMarriage Equality, a civil rights issue that he has championed since his successful campaign for governor. All that is standing in the way of this long overdue legislation are a number of backward-thinking Republicans in the State Senate and a few misguided Dems like RubÃ©n DÃaz Sr.
The names of the men (and women) who oppose this bill risk becoming permanently on the wrong side of history, like the Senators from the South in the 1800s who clung to neanderthalic beliefs about African Americans and their second-class citizenship.
We are a nation built on the dream of equality and the pursuit of happiness. If gay couples want to marry and build families like heterosexuals have been able to do for centuries, we should roll out the red carpet for them. In a society where almost half of all marriages end in divorce, where a high percentage of children grow up in single-parent households, we should be encouraging those who want to build stable homes with the full force of the law.
We implore Governor Andrew Cuomo, State Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and all the legislators they lead, to do the right thing and restore our faith in government.
In future weeks, we"ll make the case for non-partisan redistricting and other reforms that Albany can do to make our citizens once again trust their leaders.
But for now, we make this one simple demand: vote in favor of the â€œMarriage Equality bill now and correct the civil rights injustice of this generation. Senators, we will be watching your votes, and we will not forget those who stand in the way of justice in New York State.
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