Park Slope Patch: Roll Call - Marriage Equality

Daniel L. Squadron

June 17, 2011

By Paul Leonard and McCarton Ackerman

For supporters of legalizing gay marriage, it would seem like an opportune time for New York to join the ranks of five other states and the District of Columbia in recognizing same-sex unions. 

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, riding a wave of popularity since taking office in January, is a gay marriage supporter. In recent weeks, Mayor Michael Bloomberg has unleashed a vigorous campaign backed by considerable resources to get a bill passed in Albany. And the state Assembly's Democratic majority, having voted to approve marriage equality in 2008, vowed to do so again in 2011. 

So what's the holdup?

As of Thursday night, marriage rights proponents needed the support of five state Senators to ensure passage of a bill in the Legislature's upper chamber. 

With much on the line for those on both sides of the issue — and with the Legislature scheduled to adjourn for summer recess at the end of next week — here are Brooklyn's eight state senators on the record regarding a possible vote on legalizing gay marriage.

Sen. Velmanette Montgomery, D-18th Senate District
Neighborhoods represented: 
Fort Greene, Boerum Hill, Red Hook, Bedford-Stuyvesant, Sunset Park and Park Slope.
If a bill legalizing gay marriage was before the state Senate today, how would you vote?:

"As I said in 2008 when this legislation was also before the NYS Senate, this is not a political issue; it is simple, equitable justice. The right to marry as two people see fit is a fundamental civil right that should be enjoyed by all New York’s citizens. It cannot be limited by legislation. It cannot be denied to any to accommodate the limiting exclusions of others. It is simply the right thing to do. This is what I have always believed, my entire life.

You know you have my unwavering support for this legislation, and we are very close to passing it. I ask that you reach out to all my colleagues, on both sides of the aisle, and persuade them of the simple, common sense justice of the cause."

Senator Eric Adams, D-20th Senate District
Neighborhoods represented:
Flatbush, Crown Heights, Park Slope, Windsor Terrace and Prospect Heights.
If a bill legalizing gay marriage was before the state Senate today, how would you vote?: Yes.

"I fully support legislation to render all gender-specific language in NYS Domestic Relations Law gender-neutral, thus affording same-sex couples the identical opportunity, the identical freedom, to contract civil marriages in the same way as opposite-sex couples do currently. 

I believe that no legal status, no rights, no benefits, no privileges, and no protections relating to marriage should differ based upon the gender of the parties involved.   

The unfairness inherent in depriving same-sex couples of this fundamental justice undermines the stability of family relationships, creates in every sense a second-class citizenry, and weakens our society.  I will vote in favor of a gay marriage bill because I believe that gay couples desire exactly the same type of committed relationship as do straight couples, and that relationship, marriage, is a basic human right."

Sen. Martin Golden, R-22nd Senate District
Neighborhoods represented:
Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, Bensonhurst, Gerritsen Beach, Borough Park.
If a bill legalizing gay marriage was before the state Senate today, how would you vote?:

"The issue of marriage equality is one that is controversial with many points of view. I have a long standing principled position on the issue and remain opposed to the legalization of gay marriage in New York State."

Sen. Daniel Squadron, D-25th Senate District
Elected: 2008.
Neighborhoods represented: Carroll Gardens, Greenpoint, Downtown Brooklyn.
If a bill legalizing gay marriage was before the state Senate today, how would you vote?: Yes.

"It's rare that we have an opportunity to vote on something that has as personal and immediate of an impact on our constituents as marriage equality.  Living up to New York's values means providing equal rights for all. That's why I will fight to win over my undecided colleagues and make sure we get this passed this year."

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