Is New York ready for same-sex marriage?
Gov. David Paterson thinks so.
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Paterson announced a proposal today to allow same-sex marriage in the Empire State.
Accompanied by political leaders, including New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, he framed the issue as a matter of equality.
"I'm introducing a bill to bring marriage equality to the state of New York,'' the Associated Press quoted Paterson saying. Paterson listed a whopping 1,350 civil protections same-sex couples are denied that straight couples have.
"Rights should not be stifled by fear. What we should understand is that silence should not be a response to injustice. And that if we take no[sic] action, we will surely lose,'' Paterson said.
Of course, the proposal has a way to go, but the ambitious governor is banking that a stream of approvals from other states—including Massachusetts, Conneticut and even Iowa—will give his bill momentum. If his attempt is successful, New York will become the second state to pass same-sex marriage rights through legislation (as opposed to court decisions). Vermont became the first to do so earlier this month.
This won't be the first time New York lawmakers have tackled the topic. In 2007, a similar bill passed the state House before dying in the state Senate. At that time, the Republican-controlled Senate refused to bring the bill for a vote. Now, however, Democrats control the entire legislature.
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Even so, the bill isn't guarenteed an easy ride. State Sen. Ruban Diaz, D-Bronx, and newly appointed New York City Archbishop Timothy Dolan have vowed to fight the bill.
Earlier this month, New Hampshire voted to recognize same-sex civil unions and Maine will be holding a hearing on same-sex marriage on April 24.