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Big movement in New York State on marriage equality

Marriage equality

By Adam Bink

Update: Just now, Republican Jim Alesi of the Rochester suburbs tells the press:

“If the bill comes to the floor the way that I would like to see it, I will support it,” Senator James S. Alesi, a Monroe County Republican, said before going into a meeting with Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo. Mr. Alesi did not elaborate.

Alesi, who has been known to privately promise advocates he would support the bill, would be the first Republican to publicly come onboard. Of course “the way that I would like to see it” could mean not being the 32nd vote, so stay tuned.”

Amidst today’s Prop 8 trial hearing, some big news out of New York. Three Democratic State Senators who previously opposed marriage equality — Joe Addabbo and Shirley Huntley of Queens, along with Carl Kruger of Brooklyn — have announced they will support a measure this month to legalize same-sex marriage in New York State. I cannot emphasize how important this is, not just for the sake of the votes but for momentum. Many expected those who were undecided, Republicans and Democrats alike, to remain so until the vote. This brings the total number of supporters on record from 26 to 29 (all Democrats). 32 are needed for passage, but it is also likely no one will want to be the pivotal 32nd deciding vote, so 33 may be the critical number.

Meanwhile, Fred Dicker of the NY Post, an often reliable source on such matters, has it from various sources that several Republicans are ready to vote yes. We reached out to Courage members in New York State recently, asking them to call targeted Senate districts (including those of the 3 who moved today) and it looks like these calls may be working. Many of you called after I posted a list last week.

Let’s keep it up! Here’s the list again (and if you have an extra second, give Addabbo, Huntley and Kruger a call to say thanks and help reinforce their decision):

Joe Addabbo (15, Queens) (518) 455-2322

James Alesi (55, Rochester suburbs) (518) 455-2015

Greg Ball (40, Putnam County) (518) 455-3111

Joe Griffo (47, Utica) (518) 455-3334

Mark Grisanti (60, Buffalo, Grand Island, Niagara Falls) (518) 455-3240

Shirley Huntley (10, Queens) (518) 455-3531

Carl Kruger (27, Brooklyn) (518) 455-2460

Andrew Lanza (24, Staten Island) (518) 455-3215

Betty Little (45, North Country stretching from Plattsburgh to Glens Falls) (518) 455-2811

Jack Martins (7, Nassau County/Garden City) 518-455-3265

Roy McDonald (43, north and east of Albany: Troy, Saratoga Springs, Clifton Park) (518) 455-2381


  • 1. Sagesse  |  June 13, 2011 at 1:36 pm

    Quietly hopeful.

  • 2. RAJ  |  June 13, 2011 at 1:41 pm

    ..that's a good attitude to proceed with. When the affirmative vote failed to materialize last time, i couldn't believe it. Hoping too all the way from California.

  • 3. Gregory in SLC  |  June 13, 2011 at 2:00 pm

    hoping from Utah too!

  • 4. Phillip R  |  June 13, 2011 at 1:42 pm

    Although I think the alphabetical call is a bit ridiculous, very happy to see that Addabbo is supportive now. That critical first vote should be helpful.

  • 5. AnonyGrl  |  June 13, 2011 at 1:56 pm

    And it has to happen this week.

    I am guessing that some of Cuomo's behind the scenes work is paying off. I like that one of the articles said that Republicans are doing their own polling and realizing that a vote AGAINST marriage equality could be a detrimental to re-election. That means that they are finally actually listening to their constituency.

    I hope… I hope… I hope….

    If this passes, anyone who wants to come get married here in Albany NY will have ME there throwing all the rice one person can carry!

  • 6. Gregory in SLC  |  June 13, 2011 at 2:02 pm

    : D

  • 7. Bob  |  June 13, 2011 at 2:41 pm

    go N.Y. let AnonyGrl throw rice,,,,,,,

  • 8. Str8Grandmother  |  June 13, 2011 at 2:00 pm

    I HOPE it passes in New York, it has been a long time since there has been a political win. Go New York!!!

  • 9. Ronnie  |  June 13, 2011 at 2:14 pm

    I'm going to wait until there is a vote to jump out of my seat, but awesome news…..Now, not so awesome news……

    This is the America NOM, Maggie Gallagher, etc. etc. are creating:

    Gay Men Kicked Out of Public Pool in Kentucky and Official Cites 'The Bible' as Reason

    ""My staff asked The Pavilion staff why they were being asked to leave, and they were informed that 'gay people' weren't allowed to swim there. My staff told this man that what he was trying to do was discrimination. The man stated that what he was doing was in the Bible and he could do it. My staff continued to argue with this man, but was ultimately forced to leave. My clients, whom already feel ridiculed and different, left the city owned facility crying and embarrassed for trying to participate in 'normal' activities that everyday 'normal' people do." "

    A protest is being planned:

    "Said Kentucky Equality Federation Children of LGBTI Parents Outreach Director Julia Oiler Spiegel: "The two gay males with developmental and intellectual disabilities were discriminated against by the staff of The Pavilion based on their sexual orientation…As a gay parent of a child with a developmental challenge, I am outraged by this complete act of ignorance directed at these young men and their staff. As a public community service, the The Pavilion has a responsibility to provide equal treatment to all members of their facility and to properly educate their staff accordingly. A Biblical comment is totally inappropriate. All citizens of the Commonwealth of Kentucky should be treated with equality and respect, based not only on their intellectual abilities but their sexual orientation as well. This was a humiliating experience for both of these young men and will not be tolerated. I demand a public apology, not only these young men, but to the clients and staff of Mending Hearts, Inc. as well as the LGBTI community of Perry County."

    There are so many harsher words I could use but I will just say this: As of right now, I have never been more sure that this country does NOT deserve my hard earned money to pay for public services & spaces if some selfish religious zealot is going to deny me those services & the use of those spaces as I am PERIOD!!! Come on IRS, arrest me?! I dare you!……. >I …Ronnie

  • 10. JonT  |  June 13, 2011 at 2:19 pm

    '…A protest is being planned…'

    Protest? It should be a lawsuit.

  • 11. Ronnie  |  June 13, 2011 at 3:23 pm

    I concur……<3…Ronnie

  • 12. Sagesse  |  June 13, 2011 at 2:21 pm

    On the status in New York

    Marriage Equality Close to Reality in New York State

  • 13. RAJ  |  June 13, 2011 at 2:33 pm

    Until this is a done deal I'm not going to let myself get too worked up — BUT — if this does happen, it will become one of the "game-changers" mentioned by a poster in an earlier thread. It would then be time to focus like a LASER on Minnesota in 2012 with renewed energy and optimism.

  • 14. Mackenzie  |  June 13, 2011 at 2:34 pm

    Cuomo says vote will happen in NY by next Monday.

  • 15. anonygrl  |  June 13, 2011 at 3:23 pm

    It has to happen by then, that is the last day of the legislative session, I think.

  • 16. Str8Grandmother  |  June 13, 2011 at 9:18 pm

    Didn't Cumo also say he would not have a vote unless he would win?

  • 17. AnonyGrl  |  June 13, 2011 at 2:45 pm

    James Alesi, REPUBLICAN has just publicly state he will vote yes.

    He is the first Republican to say it, but there appear to be others thinking it.

  • 18. Gregory in SLC  |  June 13, 2011 at 5:41 pm


  • 19. Sam Handwich  |  June 13, 2011 at 3:03 pm

    A friend of mine in Jack Martin's district just contacted his office. The staffer offered the copout that Martins has "no poisiton" because there's "no bill to see." Martins is supposedly going to return his call this evening.

  • 20. Bob  |  June 13, 2011 at 3:19 pm

    that's the same run around we got with DADT REPEAL BILL,,,, ya gotta get a copy of the wording of the bill,,,, has it been actually drafted yet,,,,??

  • 21. David Henderson  |  June 13, 2011 at 4:25 pm

    That's a good question: Is there a draft of the bill that people are considering, or is it just the concept "marriage = good"? Are the authors contacting legislators to find out what it would take for them to vote yes (e.g. a possibly-redundant "religious protection" amendment, just so they can say to their constituents that it's in there)?

    Who is the author, anyway?

  • 22. Bob  |  June 13, 2011 at 4:55 pm

    great questions, folks from N.Y. could work on tracking down the Bill,,,, like DADT we eventually turned our questions from do you support repeal,,, to have you read the amended Bill,,,, which eventually lead us to ask for a copy to read ourselves,,,,, you're right the wording is important,,,, and in the lead up they may still be working on the wording,,,,, so push to see who the author is,,, and the co-sponsors,,,,, and then get an actual draft….. unless you see the written document,,, it's all talk,,, and if it is written they would want everyone to see it……

  • 23. LCH  |  June 13, 2011 at 3:53 pm


  • 24. Ronnie  |  June 13, 2011 at 4:04 pm

    Senator John Sampson announces Senators Joseph P. Addabbo Jr., Shirley L. Huntey, & Carl Kruger's support for Marriage Equality in New York. The towleroad link has the videos of speeches from the 3 Senators & Senator Tom Duane…….<3….Ronnie:

    [youtube R_hnNXp8glI youtube]

  • 25. Ronnie  |  June 13, 2011 at 4:17 pm

    On a roll…..How is this "religious liberty" for yah NOM?

    Dozens of Omaha-Area Pastors to Sign Proclamation Saying Homosexuality Not a Sin, Welcoming Gays to Church

    An Omaha, Nebraska pastor has organized more than 100 area pastors of all different faiths to sign a proclamation welcoming gay people to Christianity and distancing themselves from anti-gay Christians, KETV reports:

    Rev. Eric Elnes, pastor of Countryside Community Church, said the proclamation was created because, “we were just fed up with the popular notion that the Christian point of view is anti-gay.”

    Elnes, who leads an Omaha church of 1,500 members at 87th Street and Pacific Street, said more than 100 ordained Christian ministers have signed the proclamation, including leaders from Lutheran, Episcopalian, United Church of Christ, Methodist and Presbyterian churches.

    “We believe homosexuality is not a sin. It’s not a birth defect or a choice. God created people this way. And if God created them this way, they need to be honored for who they are, and fully included in church life and wider society,” said Elnes, whose words are reflected in the document.


  • 26. Str8Grandmother  |  June 13, 2011 at 9:21 pm

    GO RONNIE ! ! ! !

  • 27. John_B_in_DC  |  June 13, 2011 at 4:28 pm

    The advantage we have over our opponents is that marriage–and not being able to marry–has an immediate, direct, and very personal effect on us. A thoughtful, personal, but polite letter–or at this point, email or phone call–from a constituent is going to have a much greater impact on an undecided senator than a hundred form letters, robocalls, or emails from knee-jerk out-of-state marriage opponents. Tell your senator you want to get married, and why. Tell your senator why it makes a difference, not just to you, but to your family, your friends, your neighbors, your coworkers, and your community. And if your senator is already a supporter (or has just announced his or her support), be sure to write a nice letter thanking them!

  • 28. Straight Ally #3008  |  June 13, 2011 at 7:35 pm

    Really hoping this goes through – maybe Gov. Cuomo made them an offer they can't refuse? (I'm Italian, I can say that ;-D)

    The only downside would be that New York would have marriage equality before New Jersey. Oh, the indignity! ;-D

  • 29. Tasty Salamanders  |  June 13, 2011 at 9:41 pm

    Well since they can't keep their minds out of our bedrooms it doesn't surprise me 😛

    Homophobic Men Most Aroused by Gay Male Porn

  • 30. Sagesse  |  June 14, 2011 at 4:43 am

    And more from New York.

    Once Against Gay Marriage, 4 Senators Say They Will Back It

  • 31. Anthony  |  June 14, 2011 at 8:30 am

    Just called Betty Little's office, and was told that she plans on voting "No" on the marriage equality bill, because she believes in the traditional definition of marriage.

  • 32. AnonyGrl  |  June 14, 2011 at 9:05 am

    What a shame. But thanks for making the call! You never know what the tipping point for each of these Senators will actually be.

  • 33. Sam Handwich  |  June 14, 2011 at 9:07 am

    UPDATE: Spoke to my friend in NY State…. Sen Jack Martin never returned his call, as the staffer promised yesterday. Shocking, i know.

  • 34. dsc77  |  June 14, 2011 at 12:32 pm

    Just got an email from NOM: "Emergency Alert: New York on Precipice of Redefining Marriage" with a panicky plea to call seven senators and tell them to oppose same-sex marriage. It's interesting that they are using the phrase "same-sex marriage."

    They are including Betty LIttle on the list, as if she COULD be swayed to support teh gay-marry..?? Not that I really know much about NY legislators….

    Dave in Maine

  • 35. Remy  |  June 24, 2011 at 6:24 pm

    Its a shame that alot of the republicans are supporting this simply to boost their re-election chances. They should take a closer look at their morals and do the right thing, and vote no.

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