Thursday, December 3, 2009

Gov. Paterson Following Defeat Of Marriage Equality Bill: "This Is A Civil Rights Issue"

According to a Marist College poll released Wednesday, 51 percent of New Yorkers support legalizing gay marriage, with 42 percent opposed. Regardless, a bill that would have established marriage equality went down to a disappointing defeat. Governor David Paterson (D) released an eloquent statement recognizing marriage equality as a civil rights issue and assuring supporters that the struggle will continue:

“It is always darkest before the dawn. The darkest day in the history of the American civil rights movement was in 1857 when the Supreme Court ruled against Dred Scott, making slavery legal north of the 36th parallel. That was the darkest day for the abolitionists. But when we look back in history, we forget that this was only five years before the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation in September of 1862.

“I understand the anger; I understand the frustration; I understand the feeling of betrayal; and I understand the profound disappointment of those who came to Albany today thinking they could get married tomorrow. But I am also here to tell you that we are not back to square one.

“Governors don’t come to the Senate floor after losing a vote. This one does, because this is a fight that is bigger than one legislative vote. This is a civil rights issue. Marriage equality is as important as the emancipation of any group from oppression and the granting of equal rights to any community.

“I believe in my heart that if people had voted their consciences today, we would be celebrating marriage equality tonight. That did not happen. As disappointed as we are today, let’s get up tomorrow and redouble our efforts. We are going to lay the foundation to make people feel comfortable to vote their conscience and not fear political backlash.

“Now we know who we have to talk to. We are going to quash the intimidation; we are going to alleviate the pressure; we are going to move this issue back to the floor of the Senate and we are going to have marriage equality in New York State and equal rights for everybody.”
(h/t Think Progress)

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