Marriage Equality Achieved in NY

History was made in New York Friday night.  New York is now the largest and most diverse state in the nation to confer all of the rights, benefits and responsibilities of civil marriage upon same-sex unions.  No longer will same-sex couples need to go elsewhere to get married.  Beginning next month, LGBT couples will be able to get married and raise their families knowing that the laws of the state of New York will be there to protect their unions and their children.  Because of this momentous vote, LGBT New Yorkers moved one giant step closer to achieving full equal rights.

For Lambda Independent Democrats of Brooklyn, this is a great moment.  LID has been fighting for over 30 years to elect pro-equality candidates from Brooklyn to public office.  Friday night we saw the results of that effort when all but one Brooklyn state senator voted for marriage equality.  For the last several months, LID helped to mobilize thousands of people to contact their state senator.  We also joined forces with New Kings Democrats, Central Brooklyn Independent Democrats and Bay Ridge Democrats to call out the anti-equality bigotry of Conservative Party chairman Mike Long and State Senator Marty Golden in a public demonstration.

While LID played its part, much of the credit for this victory goes to Governor Andrew Cuomo for his tremendous leadership and to the coalition known as New Yorkers United for Marriage, that brought together pro-equality advocates to drive a coordinated strategy that masterfully guided this bill to passage.

Lambda Independent Democrats thanks all of the Assemblymembers and State Senators who have consistently and unequivocally stood for equality and with our community, even when it was not popular to do so.  We also thank and acknowledge Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos for permitting the bill to be brought to a vote; the four Republican Senators for their courageous support, despite enormous pressure from opposition groups; and the three state senate Democrats who changed their votes in support of equality.

Finally, this victory could not have come without the thousands of volunteers – including many straight allies – who made phone calls, wrote letters, signed petitions, recorded videos, attended rallies, made signs and donated money to make marriage equality a reality in New York.  Their energy, enthusiasm and perseverance is what pushed this enormous effort over the top.

This has been an historic LGBT Pride Month.  All involved should feel proud of achieving this milestone in the struggle for equal rights.

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