On Thursday, April 17, our Governor introduced a bill to legalize same sex marriage, likening the cause to the abolitionist movement of the 1800s. He promised to personally lobby for passage of the bill, saying “we have a duty to make sure equality exists for everyone.” So where do our State representatives stand on this important issue? Hakeem Jeffries voted for it when when a similar bill was introduced in the State Assembly in 2007, and has voted for every measure supporting gay rights since, so there’s no reason to think he wouldn’t support it.
I sent an e-mail to our State Senator, Valmanette Montgomery, on a recent evening to find out what her stand is on the issue. I immediately got an auto-reply saying that correspondence is always answered by US mail, so I figured it would take a while to get a reply from her. Then when I woke up the next day, I saw I had received an e-mail from Senator Montgomery at 3:24 AM with the following touching message:
On April 16, 2009, New York State again started the long overdue process of providing equal civil rights to all its citizens. 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.
In 1977 when my friend Gary Deane became the first openly gay man to run for New York City Council, Ruby Nottage (at the time a District Leader) and I worked on his campaign. We worked hard because he was our friend and would have been a terrific City Council member. His narrow loss was the first of many steps toward making sexual orientation a non-issue in the public arena. Today we are taking another significant step for equality for all New Yorkers.
I am looking forward to receiving an award from the Lambda Independent Democrats next month, an organization started by Gary Deane, Peter Vogel, and other friends. And I am looking forward to working with State Senator Tom Duane, as I have always done before, to see that the civil right to marry is finally available to all New York citizens. It is simply the right thing to do.
And when that civil right is finally law, it will be a wonderful day. And I am very much looking forward to it!”
As am I, Senator Montgomery!! I look forward to having equal civil rights as my heterosexual Clinton Hill neighbors!