Where are they now — on gay marriage?
Gay marriage is once again making headlines, thanks to last week’s vote by lawmakers in Vermont, a nearby state, to allow gay couples to take the ultimate plunge. The New York State Assembly has passed such a bill before, and now Gov. Paterson says he’ll fight to make gay marriage legal. But in years past, the state Senate has always balked. So in our new “Where are they now?” feature, we asked your local state senator how he or she will vote when it comes up again:
Eric Adams (D–Fort Greene)
I fully support legislation to render all gender-specific [marriage] language gender-neutral, thus affording same-sex couples the identical opportunity, the identical freedom, to contract civil marriages in the same way as opposite-sex couples do currently. I believe that no legal status, no rights, no benefits, no privileges, and no protections relating to marriage should differ based upon the gender of the parties involved. The unfairness inherent in depriving same-sex couples of this fundamental justice undermines the stability of family relationships, creates in every sense a second-class citizenry, and weakens our society.
Martin Dilan (D–Greenpoint-Williamsburg)
If the bill came out of committee and on to the floor, I would vote for it. It’s a civil rights issue. If two people want to get married it’s their choice. As legislators, I don’t think it’s our place to hinder that personal decision.
Marty Golden (R–Bay Ridge)
I would vote against [the] bill if reintroduced to allow gay marriage in New York State. I remain opposed to the legalization of gay marriage and believes that marriage is that between a man and a woman.
Velmanette Montgomery (D–Park Slope)
Equal civil rights [for] all its citizens 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.
I am looking forward to working with Sen. 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!
Diane Savino (D–Bay Ridge)
I was a co-sponsor of a similar bill last year and would likely support it this year. The government’s role is not to sanction relationships, otherwise we could justify denying marriage rights for many unfit couples of whatever orientation. The government’s role is to administer contractual rights between two people that choose to spend their lives together. Same-sex couples who are denied the right to marry are also denied hundreds of protections, including hospital visitations, Social Security benefits, or even the right to live with their loved ones in a nursing home. It is only just to extend these basic rights to all families.
Daniel Squadron (D–Brooklyn Heights)
I support gay marriage and will support the bill. And I will push for its passage as hard as I can. To me, it is a basic civil rights issue. It’s a question of equality and fairness. There are 1,300 rights that you can not get outside of marriage, such as hospital visiting rights, next of kin rights, etc. Religious institutions can still define marriage they way they wish, but if there is to be a civil component, that means we should not have a two-tiered system.
Updated 2:40 pm, February 1, 2014: Story was updated to provide a fuller comment from Sen. Montgomery.
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