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NY Governor Introduces Gay Marriage Bill Today

April 16, 2009

Albany, NY — Governor David Paterson will introduce legislation today to make New York the fifth state in the Union to recognize gay marriage, and a leading gay rights advocate believes it has a reasonable chance of passing this year. Paterson is reintroducing a measure the state senate defeated in 2007.

David Kilmnick, CEO of Long Island Gay and Lesbian Youth, argues the point that gay people aren’t taxed less than their fellow New Yorkers, so they should not be shortchanged when it comes to legal rights. There are a host of reasons to support the bill, he adds.

"There are more than eighteen-hundred different reasons, and those eighteen-hundred different reasons reflect the rights, benefits and responsibilities that come along with civil marriage."

Some gay rights supporters have been critical of Governor Paterson for submitting the bill before lining up enough votes to assure its passage, but Kilmnick says other states are showing the nation that the time is past to act on gay marriage.

"It certainly caught me by surprise that Iowa in middle-America did this before us here in supposedly liberal New York, but you know what? I think that’s a great thing."

Even though gay marriage is being decided on a state-by-state basis, Kilmnick says this is still the United States of America and he says he won’t rest until gay people in all 50 states have equal rights.

Senate Republicans and religious groups both stand ready to oppose the measure, arguing marriage is meant to be a union between a man and a woman. A Quinnipiac University poll last week showed 41 percent of New York voters support same-sex marriage. Advocates for gay rights say recent polls conducted by their groups show as much as 56 percent support in New York.

Mike Clifford, Public News Service - NY