Watch the Senate debate marriage equality

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Today, the Senate engages in an historic debate on S66003, a bill that would extend full marriage rights to all couples in New York. Login or Register to leave comment on the debate. Please note, all comments will be moderated in compliance with our Terms of Participation.

 

Part 1 of the full Senate debate is below. Follow these links to watch the rest of this historic debate:

Part 2

Part 3

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Your Comments

under scrutiny

It's pretty discouraging... All my life we've been in the news, being publicly debated. Decisions are made whether we're allowed to do this or that. Whether we're allowed to be teachers, or join the military, or have privacy in the bedroom, allowed to adopt, allowed this-and-that. When are you going to stop? What other group of people gets so dissected and analyzed, scrutinized and voted upon? 

Sad Day For New York State

I would like say thank you to Senator Antoine Thompson for standing up for equality today.  To all the other local Western New York leaders a big shame on you!  I've enjoyed 10 wonderful years with my same sex partner in a committed and loving relationship. We deserve the same protections and rights that every other New Yorker enjoys. Thank you Governor Paterson for your continued support. You and Senator Thompson have mine.

Sad Day For New York State

I would like say thank you to Senator Antoine Thompson for standing up for equality today.  To all the other local Western New York leaders a big shame on you!  I've enjoyed 10 wonderful years with my same sex partner in a committed and loving relationship. We deserve the same protections and rights that every other New Yorker enjoys. Thank you Governor Paterson for your continued support. You and Senator Thompson have mine.

Equality

Sad Day in New York State. Shame on all those who voted no on equality. What makes you better than any one? Now we know who not to vote for come next elections. If you want to protect marriage write a law that makes divorce a crime. How many of you would vote yes for that? This is not over and we will not rest till there is equality and justice for all.

I can't believe the NY state Senate failed to protect my 14th amendment right to marry my partner of 10 years. I don't care what you call it; call it civil union, civil marriage, civil partnership, I just want all rights extended to heterosexual couples extended to members of the LGBT community. 

Shame on 38 of you

38 of you have just violated my civil rights, granted to all persons under the equal protection clause of the 14th amendment to our glorious US Constitution. At some point in the recent or distant history of this nation, you or your ancestors fought for your own equality; the assertion that all are created equal is the bedrock of Who We Are as a nation - it's the only glue that binds this nation of disparate races and creeds. 38 of you voted shamefully against the character of the United States today. Think about that this holiday season. 38 of you just told thousands of children in this state that their family is invalid; you've shouted out that you think it's fair that while my partner subsidizes your straight partner's health insurance as a member of the group, her partner's same health benefits should be taxed as a 'gift'; you've stood and declared that because of who I love, I should be refused the right to enter into civil legal contracts; you've lent your full-throated support to those who deny me the right to joint coverage, visitation, family planning, or even qualify for bereavement fares; you've just decided that millions of people in this state are not, in fact, people (else we'd have the same rights as you); you've made a joyful noise unto the Lord that corporations should continue to be protected by the 14th Amendment, and that millions of your constituents should not. Shame on you. And to those senators who called this vote without knowing a whip count? Congratulations on dealing a punch in the gut to us for the holidays.


The extra-stupid part of what just happened? The millions of dollars of revenue you just lost the state from what otherwise could absolutely be the equal marriage capital of the nation. I hope the small business vote wasn't one you were courting, because you just lost them millions of dollars of niche-market business.

Disgusted

I am disgusted and ashamed of being a New Yorker right now.

To those ignorant and intolerant senators who voted no, I assume your lives are already miserable (whish explains your inability to empathize). Thank you for protecting... what exactly? A term? Over people's lives?  Very admirable.

Bible influences our votes?

I understand that the bible influences Christians when they vote, it cannot help but do that, as a moral guide.  But no where in the bible does it expressly say that homosexual love is against God's will.  It only describes the abomination as being such when it is adulterous.  Review your Bible, for you clearly do not follow it if you oppose this bill.  I am appalled by those who do not stand for equality.  Especially in this great state. 

 

yes.

I absolutely agree. new york of all states really?! REALLY!?! terrible! how were all of those senators who spoke so beautifully from the heart..... TOTALLY BLOWN OFF??? isn't it FUNNY how the ones who chose to speak, were for it, and honest and truthful... why didn't anyone speak who was against it?! could it be, because they don't KNOW WHY THEY ARE AGAINST IT IN THE FIRST PLACE?! discrimination and hatred are never explained, because there is no answer. i'd like a senator to give ONE GOOD REASON why this is so. i'd like ONE please.

The institution of marriage strengthens families. Families strengthen society. 

I don't understand why some religious conservatives - who bring up the aforementioned point again and again - are so set on denying loving couples the right to marry and build families.

A vote for marriage equality is a vote for family values and social stability.

Gay Marriage

If the argument is that any two people who want to live together should be allowed to call it a marriage, congratulations: you have just established a legal precedent for polygamy also. If all traditional rules are now broken, you have no foundation to stand on anymore.  Is that what you want?  And by the way, why not legalize concubinage while we're at it? Give a tax break for mistresses? Don't they deserve recognition also? Why not allow incest too?  You don't realize where this is going.


Even the pagan Greeks and Romans who practiced homosexuality never ever called such relationships a "marriage". Even in worst of their depravity they had more sense than some of us.  I wonder why??

Gay Marriage

You're citing a slippery slope, which is a logical fallacy. Gay marriage is not the same thing as polygamy, prostitution, or incest and therefore the event of Gay Marriage being legalized would not cause the others.

Just because X is true, Y will not automatically inevitably happen.

THANK YOU for taking on this debate and vote senators. I urge you to stick to civil and legal reasons to support or refute gay rights. We the people elected you to uphold the American values of freedom and liberty for all. Each of us chooses our own religious affiliation and would appreciate keeping Church out of the State.

Please remember that you are in office to represent the people's civil rights. I respect your religious values, but would like you to leave them at th Senate door on ALL issues.

Cheers!

Dear Senators,
I am writing to urge you to vote in favor of civil marriage recognition for gay and lesbian couples.

My life partner and I have been a family since 1994.  To be honest with you, "marriage" was not high on our priority list for many years.  In 1998, we had a "commitment ceremony" which was the most formal most gay and lesbian couples ever thought of getting.  At that event we were joined by our parents, siblings and many friends in this celebration.

Soon after, we decided to explore the possibility of adopting a child.  Naturally, based on our decision to be completely open about ourselves during that process, we figured we would be lucky to find one child.  Our efforts to find a birthmother or birth-family were in fact completely open and honest about our status as an out gay male couple.  Because such openness is not an option with most international adoption, we chose to focus on a domestic adoption assuming that there were many children in desperate need of a loving home such as ours.

In 2000, our twin daughters arrived about 10 weeks before their due date and weighed little more than 3 pounds each.  We cared for them and nurtured them through various obstacles and developmental delays and I am happy to report that today they are both thriving.  When they were 2 1/2 years old, we were contacted about our willingness to adopt another child?  We agreed and now have our son who was born in 2003.

Were it not for our children, marriage might still not be a high priority for our family.  While I understand that there are over a thousand 'rights and privileges' that accompany legal recognition of marriage, my driving impetus for marriage equality has been the growing realization that my children have a very real sense that their family is somehow not as worthy as or not as real as those of their friends in school who have a legally married mother and father. 

As you might assume, my partner and I are indeed active community members who participate at school, pay our taxes and go to church etc.  But you may not have a full appreciation of what "marriage" would mean to my children.  To them, this is a very important distinction.  And no amount of love, stability or hugs from their two fathers can erase the fact that we are living in a community, a state and a nation that values our family less than or at least separate from the families of their friends, cousins and even other gay and lesbian families who might live in states that have marriage equality.

So, I hope that you will read this and take our family and families like mine into account when you are debating the merits of marriage equality in New York.  Please vote yes on legal recognition of gay and lesbian marriage.

Waiting...

I am a 26 year old gay man who has been in a loving, committed relationship for over 5 years now. My partner and I were engaged last year on our 4 year anniversary, and have been planning our eventual wedding between ourselves, our friends and family, and our pastor. We are young, but we are making this choice for ourselves and no one else.

We have not been waiting long for Marriage Equality compared to the generations of gay men and women who have lived in the closet, in unrecognized committed relationships, or who have died alone waiting for the right for their partner to be with them there in the hospital. But we have been waiting.

New York Senators, please do not leave my partner and I waiting. Please see us as fellow New Yorkers, fellow Americans, and fellow human beings. Please give us the right to committ ourselves fully to each other.

Marriage Equity

While I will not disagree that this is a civil rights issue, I think it almost makes it too abstract, as if this were a philosophical concept.

This bill is about people - people who are in love, have made a commitment to each other. 

This is about someone not being able to visit someone they love who is dying in a hospital. 

This is about someone being denied the benefits their loved one wanted them to have.

This is about many many practical issues that should come automatically to two people in a commited relationship.

What this is NOT is an attack on any religious belief.  It forces no church or religion to change their rules.  It changes nothing for straight people who are married.  It takes away no one's rights, and attacks no one's faith.

Thank God the NY State Senate has finally taken this up.  In the interest of decency and fairness, there can be only one outcome - passage.

I live in a very Italian, Catholic neighborhood, and I am VERY proud of my State Senator, Jeff Klein, for supporting this bill.

Waiting...

I am a 26 year old gay man who has been in a loving, committed relationship for over 5 years now. My partner and I were engaged last year on our 4 year anniversary, and have been planning our eventual wedding between ourselves, our friends and family, and our pastor. We are young, but we are making this choice for ourselves and no one else.

We have not been waiting long for Marriage Equality compared to the generations of gay men and women who have lived in the closet, in unrecognized committed relationships, or who have died alone waiting for the right for their partner to be with them there in the hospital. But we have been waiting.

New York Senators, please do not leave my partner and I waiting. Please see us as fellow New Yorkers, fellow Americans, and fellow human beings. Please give us the right to committ ourselves fully to each other.

Religious or personal opinions are not what should drive Senator's votes, they have vowed to uphold NT State and USA Constitutions and basic American principles and should vote in accordance with TRUE "American values" of Equality and Justice for ALL Citizens.  To block Civil Marriage fro any NY Citizen because or his/her GENDER is a violation of basic and inalienable Civil Rights.  If you block same sex marriage then by logic you also must block marriage for sterile mixed sex couples!  In some religions it is a sin to eat pork, does that mean a Senator holding that belief can make pork eating illegal? We all have our own right to PERSONAL religious belief, buy to foist such beliefs on others just because one has the power to do so isjust evil.

Opposed

I am opposed to the passage of this bill.  I do not agree that homosexuals have a "right" to marry.  Homosexuality is a sin, and we do not need to encourage it more than the media already does.
Marriage is between one man and one woman, period.

Opposed -- response

Anyone who wishes to marry has a 'right' to do so, when the state offers over 1,000 benefits to married couples. Domestic partners enjoy the same right. So, this is NOT a 'marriage' issue, but a civil rights issue.  WAKE UP!

 

Sin

Sin is a word that an elected official should never use in deciding how to vote on civil rights issues. That is a violation of the 1st amendment of the US Constitution.  

Love it or Leave it!

Our sons and daughters are dying in Afganistan to stop the spread of religious oppression and terrorism. Please let's separate our personal beliefs from our Civil Laws! As Americans we live in a free society. To oppose equal civil rights for ANY citizen for any reason is to oppose the most fundamental American values expressed in our sacred Declaration of Independence, namely: "We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." And "men" means ALL CITIZENS!

equal marriage

Please Senator Griffo, do the right thing and allow gay people to marry. This is a civil right, not a religious question. Voters should not grant civil rights (look at Switzerland a couple days ago with minarets, e.g.)...it is up to our legislators to lead the way. That is why you were elected. Do the right thing, please, and vote for equality. Lead the way.

How touching, how brave - thank you for telling your brother's story!

Thank You

I would like to thank the NY State Senate for finally allowing this debate to come to the floor. Whether or not this bill passes today (and I sincerely hope it will) I am glad to see that after much too long of a delay it is finally being given the attention it deserves. I have been waiting eagerly for this day since the Assembly first passed their version of this bill last spring.

As one of the many, many, many gay New Yorkers hoping to one day get married in my home state, I ask the Senators to please look into your hearts and vote in favor of this bill which would bring equality to me and my fellow citizens.

Dear New York senators--New York is the Empire State, a state of tremendous riches. Upstate is a land of immense natural wonders and industries. Downstate, immigrants from around the world have gathered in New York City.

New York--you are a microcosm of the world. You represent the best of the American Dream.

I am a gay Indian-American. My parents immigrated from India and first settled in Stony Brook in the mid 1970's. I have cousins who still drive NYC taxi cabs.  I have uncles who've taught at community colleges in Queens. My father onces worked upstate in Ithaca.  My parents and I have lived in many states. I am proud to be an American, a resident of many different states, lucky enough to go to some of the best schools.  I've spent so much city in various parts of NY state that I consider myself almost a New Yorker.

I met my partner in New York City.  My partner grew up his whole life in Middletown, NY. We lived in Connecticut and left just before marriage equality was passed there. We've been in D.C. for over a year and are thrilled that D.C. is on the cusp of recognizing our fundamental right to marry.  We're proud that New York (upstate and the City) play a major role in our lives.

I don't know if any Senators are reading this.  If you are--please do the right thing.  This is about basic fairness.  You don't have to be friends with any gay or lesbian people. You don't have to worry about your constituencies.  The people of New York state are good and generous at heart, even those who do not support the gay rights movement. This isn't about gay people.  This is about fairness, equality, and the American Dream.   Thank you for reading this.

 

Is it possible ...

It has taken a long time, and I can't beleive I am hearing debate on the topic. But I am hopeful. This is NOT a religious issue. This is a BASIC FUNDAMENTAL right that other New Yorkers enjoy. Equality for all means just that ALL.  There are over 1000 rights that gay people can not exercise because the state does not recognize their RIGHT to marry.

I hope today they fix that error and send a STRONG message to the rest of the country. The leaders of the state will not be intimidated by the few hateful voices and they will not allow their PERSONAL religious views to affect their vote.

 

 

Sen Larkin does not support same sex marriage.  I respectfully ask him to change his vote to support same sex marriage.  Liberty and justice for all, not just some.  The state of NY in "in" the marriage business, therefore all its citizens have the right to marry.  The church can refuse to marry but the state can not make that distinction.

I'm hoping finally to be able to be married to the man I've loved and lived with in New York for the last 25 years.  It's all about equal rights.

Senator Diaz, this is not a religious issue.  This is a equal rights issue.  Why would you suggest that this issue should be put up to a popular vote?  We should never allow the majority to determine the civil rights of the minority.

This is legislative issus, not a religious one.

Sheesh.

Finally please NY join the ranks of the enlightened States like MA and CT to establish and confirm equal rights for all citizens to marry if they choose!  DOMA to be overturned next!  ALL are CREATED EQUAL! Affirm our Declaration of Independence! "We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."


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Marriage Equality

It's up to elected officials to vote in favor of equality for all citizens.  Failure to approve marriage equality is the same as supporting Jim Crow laws. 

Just remember what your mother taught you:  DO THE RIGHT THING.

PULL THROUGH!!!!!

Come on Senate!!!! Please vote for love and equality!!!!!! Vote Yes!!!!!!!! WOOOHOOOO!!!!!!