In separate pleas Monday, New York
Mayor Michael Bloomberg and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn
urged senators to approve a gay marriage bill.
Quinn, a Democrat from Manhattan who is
openly lesbian, became emotional on Monday when asked about the bill.
“This is literally a moment where
people can stand up and say that everybody's family matters, that
everybody's home is a blessed place and that everybody has the same
rights,” Quinn told reporters
in the Red Room at New York City Hall. “You don't get a lot
of times in life when you get to do that, when you get to send a
message like that.”
Governor David Paterson has asked
lawmakers in the Senate, where the bill faces its final obstacle to
becoming law, to vote on the bill during an extraordinary session
that opens Tuesday.
Over the weekend, Paterson called a
recent gay marriage setback in Maine an opportunity.
“I think there's this feeling that if
legislation fails that it's this colossal loss for the cause,”
Paterson said in an exclusive interview with gay blog Towleroad.
“I find it to be motivational. I think that the public referendum
in Maine should inspire us that there's more work to do, more
persuasion to be made, more understanding to be reached, and more
sensitivity to be displayed, and those of us who have been a catalyst
for marriage equality have to regroup and work harder.”
On Monday, Mayor Bloomberg wrote to
lawmakers, saying the bill “advances the fundamental democratic
idea that government should treat all people equally and that all
persons stand equal before the law.”
“I understand the hesitation that
some may have to undertake such a change, but this is an issue that
cuts across traditional divides,” Bloomberg said. “The issue is
not the exclusive domain of libertarians, liberals or conservatives;
it is a matter of removing the state as a barrier to personal
relationships; it is a matter of basic fairness; it is a matter of
Bloomberg, a former Republican turned
Independent who supports gay marriage and won reelection to a third
term last Tuesday, remained silent on the issue during his campaign,
leaving some to call his support “too little, too late.”
Democrats who control the Senate with a
slim 2 seat majority are considering bringing the bill up for a vote.
But despite assurances from openly gay Senator Tom Duane, the bill's
sponsor in the Senate, passage looks dim.
Still, gay rights groups have lobbied for the vote, saying they want
to put senators on record.
Meanwhile, Quinn, who is engaged to
marry her parter if the law is approved, paused several times on
Monday while addressing reporters. Visibly emotional, she added:
“Now the worst thing in the world is to have your hopes beaten
down. And I urge people, if they think I am not as good as they are,
to actually have the courage to say that in front of me and the rest
of the New Yorkers who are members of the LGBT [lesbian, gay,
bisexual and transgender] community.”
in New Jersey are also considering a gay marriage bill.