Monday, May 18, 2009

Taking it to the Streets: A Day of Marriage Rallies in NYC

With only six weeks left to the 2009 legislative session, the New York State same-sex marriage battle heats up. Opposing sides gathered in the Big Apple to express their views on marriage equality on Sunday.

Opponents gathered early in the day to protest Gov. David Paterson's legislation aimed at granting marriage to gay and lesbian couples. According to the New York Times,

The New York Hispanic Clergy Organization, led by Senator Rubén Díaz Sr., a Pentecostal minister, organized the event. In a speech delivered in Spanish, Mr. Díaz warned the governor that there would be political consequences for supporting same-sex marriage.“We’re here to say to the governor: Mr. Governor, look at the people that are here, these are the people who say we don’t believe in marriage between a man and a man and a woman and a woman,” Mr. Díaz said.

Later in the day, at a pro-marriage equality rally held at Rockefeller Center, Gov. Paterson and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg addressed the crowd with a sense of urgency as they called for supporters to urge their state legislators to back the measure and work together to get uncommitted state representatives on board.

“We’re in a race right now in New York,” the governor told a crowd of several hundred people who gathered along Avenue of the Americas. “The time for justice, the time for equality, the time for equal rights can never be any more urgent than right now.”

The Times also reports,

At a gathering of gay rights advocates in Rochester on Saturday night, Alan Van Capelle, executive director of the Empire State Pride Agenda, said he believed that there were some politicians who felt that voting for the bill would be the right thing to do, but that they would not, for fear of the political ramifications.

“Because they’re either lazy or complacent or cowards, they do not act. And history will never forget them. They will not be forgiven,” Mr. Van Capelle said.

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