Promise made. Promise kept.
I applaud Governor Eliot Spitzer's historic announcement that he is today introducing his Program Bill to grant the right of same-sex civil marriage to same-sex couples. How far we have come. Just last year the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community was shamelessly denied this basic right by the New York State Court of Appeals - whose decision was applauded by the former Governor. Today we have one of the few governors in the United States willing to put himself in the line of fire for the LGBT community because it is the right thing to do. This will not be forgotten.
While today is indeed historic, it need not be. Granting the basic right of civil marriage to same-sex couples should be accepted in our society without question. LGBT families deserve and demand equal treatment under the law. No more, no less.
I also applaud the announcement from the New York State Department of Civil Service that it will order a policy change mandating that any entity participating in the State health plan - including hundreds of municipalities and local school districts - recognize out of state same-sex marriages for the purposes of spousal and family benefits. This is yet another crucial step in New York's civil marriage battle.
Now the fight for our equal rights moves to the State Legislature. I vow to fight for civil marriage until it passes. I want to make one thing crystal clear: Same sex civil marriage will become come a reality in New York State. I guarantee it.