Senator Gianaris spoke to the Advocate about same-sex marriage following yesterday's rally advocationg for the passage of same-sex marriage.
A substantial contingent of elected officials, labor leaders, and other advocates hosted a press conference Wednesday to show support for marriage equality in Queens, N.Y., a borough represented by two undecided state senators key to passage of the legislation.
Queens, NY – Senator Michael Gianaris was proud to be one of the 33 votes in favor of the Marriage Equality Act, which passed the New York State Senate on Friday, June 24 by a vote of 33-29 and was signed into law by Governor Cuomo.
New York is now the sixth state in the nation to legalize same-sex marriage, giving LGBT couples the same domestic and human rights as heterosexual couples.
“Today, New York reclaimed its mantle as the nation's human rights leader. I am proud to be one of the 'yes' votes that made marriage equality a reality in our state,” Senator Gianaris said. “May our example set the tone for the rest of the country so that all Americans can enjoy the same rights and privileges.”
Queens Chronicle quoted Senator Gianaris on the historic passage of the Marriage Equality Act.
It is said that marriage marks the beginning of the rest of your life, and for gay and lesbian New Yorkers, Friday night was nothing less than a fresh start.
“We are now being treated as fully equal citizens,” said gay Councilman Danny Dromm (D-Jackson Heights), touting the passage of state legislation legalizing same-sex marriage. “Having the option just makes us more whole as human beings, whether we choose to get married or not.”
In bars and in clubs, in homes and on the steps of City Hall, New Yorkers from all walks of life celebrated.
The Queens Gazette wrote an article about the announcement made by Senator Gianaris and Senator Schumer, which called on the TSA to designate on-duty passenger advocates at airports in order to resolve disputes between passengers and agents over screening issues.
“While the safety and security of our flights must be a top priority, we need to make sure that flying does not become a fear-inducing, degrading, and potentially humiliating experience,” Schumer said. “Right now, passengers who feel that their rights are about to be violated have nowhere to turn, but by training passenger advocates at each of our airports, the TSA can finally give passengers a voice.”
The New York Daily News reports that the Deptartment of Homeland Security admitted that TSA screeners violated standard practice in the cases of two elderly women who alleged they were victims of humiliating strip searches at Kennedy Airport.
In an about-face, the feds have admitted wrongdoing in the cases of two elderly women who say they were strip-searched at Kennedy Airport by overzealous screeners.
Federal officials had initially insisted that all “screening procedures were followed” after Ruth Sherman, 89, and Lenore Zimmerman, 85, went public with separate accounts of humiliating strip searches.
Gianaris, who wrote to the TSA requesting a full investigation, said the feds’ account is still full of holes.
CNN reports that although the TSA has altered their responses to the allegations that they wrongfully strip searched two elderly women travelling through John F. Kennedy Airport, they are standing by their statements that neither of the women were asked to remove any clothing. Senator Gianaris believes the TSA has failed in admitting to their misconduct and in making sure their procedures are welcoming to the flying public.
"Today, we honor the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. and are reminded of the power of perseverance and the importance of helping others. As a representative of one of the most diverse communities in the world, I am humbled by the ability of different peoples to live side-by-side and create a respectful, loving environment in which our children can grow up understanding the inherent nature of dignity for all. None of this would be possible without the sacrifices made by Martin Luther King, Jr. We are forever indebted to him."
The Los Angeles Times investigates the matter involving two elderly women who claim to have been strip searched while travelling through Kennedy Airport and the subsequent denial by the TSA that such strip searching actually occured. Senator Gianaris says that the letter he received from the TSA acknowledges standard procedures were violated but that it didn't go far enough in admitting the strip searches were done and in apologizing to the victims.
The Transportation Security Administration has offered a mea culpa, of sorts, for the screening of two elderly women who said they were partially strip-searched at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport in November.