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Thousands of New Yorkers put a ring on it!

24 Jul

This morning in New York City, close to 700 couples made history by being the first gay and lesbian couples to marry in the state.

Talk About Equality and the Family Equality Council were there to document these marriage pioneers!

The new law, which passed in New York and was signed by Governor Andrew Cuomo 30 days ago, has broken the barrier to equality for thousands. Couples of every age, size and shape were lined up starting in the early hours this morning, to finally gain legal recognition for their partnerships. We spoke to couples who’d been together for 2 years and couples who’d been together 42 years – who’ve been patiently waiting for this sunny Sunday morning at the New York City Clerk’s office.

Please enjoy some photos from today’s day downtown, followed by a special reception held by Governor Andrew Cuomo at New York’s Dream Hotel. At the reception, the governor honored several individuals and organizations who joined together to eventually win the fight for marriage equality. And finally this evening at the LGBT Center of New York, several organizations including Empire State Pride Agenda, Transgender Legal Defense Network, Human Rights Campaign and Freedom to Marry hosted an enormous wedding reception for today’s newlyweds. Several elected representatives responsible for the passage of marriage equality and special guest, George Takei helped ring in the celebrations!

Also check out this video we put together about Gabriel and Dylan, one of New York’s first married gay couples. More photos, video and information on how to get married in New York available at FamilyEquality.org :

Ring in Pride! Help Pass Marriage Equality in NY!

14 Jun

Following up on our earlier post regarding the New York Marriage Equality vote, we wanted to share the phone numbers of several Senators who we believe may be moveable towards equality. Please call these Senators immediately as the vote could be happening as early as tomorrow and must happen before Monday, so these calls MUST be made today. Call and please tell all your friends and family to call as well. This is especially important if you are a constituent of any of these Senators. As of now, we need just one more vote. Let’s make it happen! What an incredible way to celebrate Pride!!

Senator Gregory R. Ball of Putnam County (845) 279-3773

Senator Charles J. Fuschillo Jr. of Suffolk County (516) 882-0630

Senator J. Kemp Hannon of Nassau County (516) 739-1700

Senator Andrew J. Lanza of Staten Island (718) 984-4073

Senator Betty Little of Glens Falls (518) 743-0968

Senator Mark Grisanti of Erie County (518) 455-3240

Senator Stephen M. Saland of Poughkeepsie (845) 463-0840

Senator Lee M. Zeldin of Shirley (631) 360-3356

Senator John J. Flanagan of Long Island (631) 361-2154

Senator Kenneth P. Lavalle of Port Jefferson (518) 455-3121

Call NOW and share this list with others!!

Prop 8 Decision Upheld and NY Marriage Equality On The Way!

14 Jun

What a day for equality from coast-to-coast!

- PROP 8 NEWS! -

Judge Vaughn Walker

The history: As you may or may not know, a few months ago, Judge Walker (who had overturned Proposition 8 at the District Court level last year), came out of the closet. This of course sent the rabid anti-gay crusaders on a new mission – since Walker stood to benefit from the outcome as a gay man who could now get married in California, the bigots claimed his decision should be overturned.

The fun part: The Prop 8 proponents who fought tooth and nail for “traditional marriage,” used as their main argument that “protecting [heterosexual] marriage” would benefit straight people and straight families. So NOW their argument is that Judge Walker should have recused himself because he was gay – but apparently a straight judge would be fine because well…he wouldn’t benefit from Prop 8 (so long as you ignore their primary argument from the previous trial). Aaaaaawkwaaaard.

The news: The federal judge who heard yesterday’s case claiming that Judge Walker should have opted out of the trial just found that Walker had “no legal obligation” to recuse himself from the case. No word yet on when gay and lesbian Californians can again start saying “I do,” but it’s great to hear that once again, this homophobic law has been found unconstitutional.

 

-NEW YORK MARRIAGE EQUALITY NEWS -

The history: In 2009, the Marriage Equality Bill was defeated in New York after many Democratic senators betrayed their parties, their constituents and their colleagues after breaking promises made and voting against equality for all New Yorkers. Several of these senators then faced primary challenges for seats they had held for many years.

NY Sen. Carl Kruger

The fun part: One of these Democrats that voted against equality was protested at his home, when activist Corey Johnson demanded that he come out of the closet. Sen. Carl Kruger was then investigated by the FBI on a bribery sting and arrested in February for allegedly pocketing close to $1 million in bribes for he and his live-in boyfriend. His boyfriend was also charged, as he was not only a beneficiary but he’d set up several shell companies to help hide the money.

The news: Kruger, though STILL not admitting he’s gay, had this to say about his change of mind on the upcoming marriage equality bill:

“My vote comes not as an outgrowth of media attacks or picketing outside my home or political pressure, but due to a better understanding of the impact that this bill will have on the rights to countless New Yorkers”

Wondering where that “better understanding” came from?

NY Governor Andrew Cuomo, photo by Jamie McGonnigal, EqualityPhotography.com

Okay, the real news: The Marriage Equality Bill was introduced today by Governor Cuomo. In earlier reports, Cuomo said that he would absolutely not introduce the bill unless he was certain he had the votes in the Senate to pass it. According to reports from pretty much every marriage equality organization, after 4 previously anti-equality Democrats (including the aforementioned Kruger) and one previously anti-equality Republican announced today that they would be voting for marriage equality, we now have 31 of the 32 votes necessary to pass the bill. If what Cuomo had promised before remains true though, he’s certain there is at least one other Republican vote. So…keep your fingers crossed as the vote has to happen in the coming few days before the end of their session. And if you live in New York, CALL YOUR SENATOR! New Yorkers for Marriage Equality/HRC has set up a very easy to use site which will connect you directly with your state senator. Just click here to make it happen now! AND SPREAD THE WORD!

 

 

NY Gov Cuomo Kicking LGBT Homeless Youth to the Curb

29 Mar

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (Photo by Jamie McGonnigal, TalkAboutEquality.com)

It seems that New York City’s LGBT homeless youth are under attack again. The most vulnerable of our community are facing further budget cuts – this time from the Governor’s office.

Just in time for Christmas last year, Mayor Bloomberg announced major budget cuts, including most of the budget of the Ali Forney Center. Ali Forney caters specifically to LGBT homeless kids, providing enough beds for just a fraction of the kids out there who need them. At the last minute, City Speaker Christine Quinn and others on the City Council saved the day and restored the funds.

Now, as part of the Governor’s budget cuts, he is planning on sending thousands of homeless youth back to the streets. This includes LGBT kids who are at drastically higher rates of risk when it comes to drug use, STD infections including HIV, depression, violence and suicide.

Change.org has issued a petition to Governor Andrew Cuomo to send him a message that these kids need our protection and care. They do not deserve to be kicked to the curb so that we can give larger breaks to millionaires. Please sign the petition and send the message to Governor Cuomo that our kids are our first priority.

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