Marriage Equality Passes Assembly

16 Jun

Yesterday, Governor Cuomo submitted a message of necessity to the Assembly, which prompted that body to vote on the passage of the marriage equality bill that evening. (Text here). Governor Cuomo issued this statement upon its passage:

“The vote by the State Assembly has moved New York one step closer to making marriage equality a reality. I applaud these legislators’ prompt and courageous support on this measure, which will finally allow same-sex couples the freedom to marry and provide them with hundreds of rights that others take for granted. I commend Speaker Sheldon Silver for his leadership and Assemblyman Daniel O’Donnell for his tireless work fighting for equality. We are on the verge of a pinnacle moment for this state.”

Of the local Assembly members, here’s how they voted:

In Favor: Hoyt, Peoples-Stokes, Schroeder

Against: Schimminger, Gabryszak, Corwin, Hayes, Ceretto

Although the measure passed 80 – 67, I’m still somewhat dumbstruck by the fact that Assemblymembers who represent largely City of Buffalo constituencies voted in favor of this measure, but the suburban ones – even the Democrats – voted against it. I’ll reach out to all of them to try and get a statement as to why. Corwin’s office sent this along:

The constituents of the 142nd Assembly District have made it very clear to me they do not want to change the definition of marriage in this state. While many of my colleagues shared moving, and very personal stories and I respect them immensely, I cannot vote against the conscience of the thousands of Western New Yorkers I represent.

But she can vote against the conscience and civil rights of her homosexual constituents. Let me put it this way, as bluntly as I can: there is no rational argument against legalizing marriage equality. There are only emotional arguments, religious arguments, and uninformed or outrageous arguments – there are no rational ones. So, to my mind, a vote against marriage equality is a vote against civil rights, is a vote that, in effect, makes same-sex marriage tantamount to a crime, and a de jure nullity. And for what? For nothing. I can pretty much guarantee to all of my religious friends that God and Jesus in heaven aren’t looking down and hoping that lawmakers ensure that gay children of God cannot live their lives as happy and committed couples. Literal reads of God’s book on the matter are unpersuasive, as it also endorses stonings and slavery.

Yesterday I appeared on Brad Riter’s show on WECK 1230-AM, and discussed the marriage equality bill, and gave Brad the “why you should care, and why you should support marriage equality” argument. Listen here.

Of note,

Assemblyman Harry Bronson, D-Rochester, explained how he was discriminated against as a young associate at a law firm for being gay. He soon quit the firm.

“What we do here today matters,” Bronson said on the Senate floor. “What we do here today is to recognize the rights of gay people, to enter a loving, committed relationship with all the protections that come from that marriage and all the responsibilities that come from that marriage.”

On the other hand, Assemblyman Dov Hikind held up the photograph shown above, and offered this sarcastic and noxious statement:

Noting that pop star Lady Gaga supported same-sex marriage, Assemblyman Dov Hikind said sarcastically, “When Lady Gaga got involved and told us and said we should support gay marriage, I said, you know, Lady Gaga, she is an example of how I should lead my life and how I should behave.”

If Hikind means “filthy rich” and “accepting of people’s uniqueness, individualism, and differences”, then yes, Mr. Hikind could indeed take an example from Gaga as to how to lead his life and behave. He chooses to perpetuate hatred, bigotry, and inequality.

So, John Ceretto, Robin Schimminger, Jim Hayes, and Dennis Gabryszak – what’s your excuse?

Epic Fail

With that said, much gratitude to Assemblyman Sam Hoyt, Assemblyman Mark Schroeder, and Assemblywoman Crystal Peoples-Stokes, both of whom voted in favor of legalizing love. They deserve to be commended for their stand on behalf of equal rights and justice.

Now the attention turns again to the State Senate, which is on track to vote on this bill on Friday, but could receive a similar message of necessity from the Governor before then and accelerate the schedule. As far as we know, State Senator Kennedy will be voting in favor of the bill, and Senators Gallivan, Maziarz and Ranzenhofer are “no” votes. All eyes, therefore, are on Senator Mark Grisanti, who may be the pivotal vote in an evenly divided Senate, and who has expressed the fact that he is philosophically in favor of marriage equality, but that he feels bound by his Catholicism to vote against it. If you can, please contact Senator Grisanti’s office by email, phone, Twitter, or Facebook, and let him know (nicely) that a vote in favor of civil rights is the right choice.

23 Responses to “Marriage Equality Passes Assembly”

  1. Buck Turgidson June 16, 2011 at 7:44 am #

    Schimminger is the textbook definition of an entrenched politician, and is the northtowns version of Bill Stachowski. Doesn’t really do anything, but keeps getting elected for term after term. I grew up in the 140th, and he was elected when I was 3. I will be 38 in 2 months.
    Please, voters of my beloved hometown Town of Tonawanda, if you want change, you need to start small…elect some new blood (and someone with some new ideas) to your assembly seat!

  2. Tom Dolina June 16, 2011 at 7:53 am #

    Dov can’t help it…He was “born this way”. That is to say: an asshole!

  3. Greg June 16, 2011 at 8:07 am #

    I’ll go one step further, Alan.

    God and Jesus aren’t looking down on you at all. You are a big dumb chimp on a fucking rock hurling through space. Homosexuality is seen in many of your co-evolved species — it’s perfectly natural.

  4. RaChaCha June 16, 2011 at 8:17 am #

    What we need here is Silent E to turn Dov into a Dove (if I remember my Grammar Rock)…

    I love is that yesterday the Senate voted unanimously (apparently) to approve the nomination of Howard Milstein to head the Thruway Authority — someone who blights an entire swath of an upstate city; targeted low-income, minority borrowers for NINA mortgages (and for his efforts got a nice quarter-Billion Federal bailout); required the intervention of Schumer to even sit down to meet with Niagara Falls Mayor Dyster; didn’t keep his commitment to meet with Dyster regularly… ( ) — yet when it comes to letting committed couples who love each other get married…

    Nope, no rationality there.

  5. Buck Turgidson June 16, 2011 at 8:18 am #

    The fact Grisanti is “on the fence” on this issue is laughable. It’s not like he has to worry about a conservative opponent stepping up in his district to take him to task for this vote next election. Give me an f’ing break.

  6. MJC June 16, 2011 at 9:38 am #

    I just emailed Schimminger and informed him that this Democrat is now a former supporter.

    As quaint as it may sound, supporters of marriage equality must write and/or call these politicians to let them know the stakes. Otherwise, they are going to cast the safe vote.

  7. Eric Saldanha June 16, 2011 at 9:58 am #

    Which NYS Senator will follow in the courageous footsteps of George Michaels and cast that deciding vote for equality for all New Yorkers?

  8. Rob June 16, 2011 at 10:03 am #

    Yes here is the site for contacting Grisanti.

    A less important issue that still bugs me – how about contacting Dems (and Repubs I guess) and asking them why they advertise on a website run by an illiterate hack who calls homosexuality an abomination and “degeneracy”. Seriously why are you giving money (supporters’ money, in most cases) to this ignorant bigot?

  9. jhorn June 16, 2011 at 11:18 am #

    rob- still out of the loop, i guess, despite being back in buffalo for almost two years. which illiterate hack would that be?

  10. Mr. F.N. Magoo June 16, 2011 at 11:31 am #

    Our 139th assemblymoron, Steve Hawley, voted ‘No’. That’s not a surprise considering this asshole keeps his constituency salivating by repeatedly proposing studies to split New York into 2 states. Steve Hawley is the kind of elected official who PRAYS to stay in the minority so he only has to come up with ridiculous ideas that pander to his hillbilly base to keep his seat and can then use the excuse “I’m in the minority” as the reason he never really accomplishes anything.

  11. Rob June 16, 2011 at 11:50 am #

    jhorn – This illiterate hack.

    • Alan Bedenko June 16, 2011 at 11:55 am #
  12. MJC June 16, 2011 at 12:01 pm #

    You would think that Gabryszak would avoid what looks like a proud announcement of the passage of the bill. Did he think that no one would realize he voted against it?

  13. King Kong June 16, 2011 at 1:19 pm #

    You forgot to thank Mark Schroeder.

  14. MJC June 16, 2011 at 1:47 pm #

    Hold on a second – Gabryszak and Maziarz have a much more important bill that they are sponsoring:

    Gabryszak – yes on the Flying Wallendas, no on marriage equality.

  15. jhorn June 16, 2011 at 2:41 pm #

    rob-thanks. and wow….

  16. T.M. Thomas June 16, 2011 at 3:38 pm #

    I had to write Gristanti after reading that-other-illiterate-site just because, if that’s the sort of commentary he’s getting from the “masses” I had to respond as a Catholic who can read, think without help and who supports the idea of same-sex unions. If I heard anything other than fear-mongering about the end of the world and the slide to inevitable bestiality, I might be inclined to think harder about the issue…but then again, these are the same political forces that say 95% of businesses will close every time there’s a chance to the min. wage, tenant protections or consumer safety.

  17. Vick June 16, 2011 at 11:22 pm #

    Let’s not pretend that same-sex marriage is demanded by all the people. Many of us are appalled that same-sex marriage is even considered. Find another legal device (e.g., “civil unions”) to protect property, insurance, tax, and entitlement rights. But leave marriage as a man-woman institution.

    • Alan Bedenko June 17, 2011 at 6:07 am #

      leave marriage as a man-woman institution

      Why do you care about that? In other words, what is your rationale for distinguishing between “civil unions” and marriage? Gay couples want to be married. They don’t want to be civil unionized.

  18. DJ June 17, 2011 at 8:27 am #

    @ Vick Who is saying same sex marriage is being “demanded by all the people”? Personally, it doesn’t affect me. Why would it bother me what two other people want to do? Live and let live.

  19. Jesse June 17, 2011 at 8:46 am #

    The movement towards the mainstream acceptance of (whatever you want to call it) is amazing to me, even if I can’t think of the right way to put it.

    It’s not hard to imagine folks who are older than we are (say, 50+) having a serious issue flipping a lifetime of prejudice on its ear.  I don’t agree with them, but I can understand the difficulty.

    And if you’re Corwin, elected to represent constituents, do you represent a few, or (as she claims, at least) the majority?  In some ways it’s a cop-out, but I can understand how an elected official wouldn’t want to flip on the people who voted her in.

  20. jhorn June 17, 2011 at 2:32 pm #

    jesse- Not that i believe her, but if ms. corwin is there to cast a vote based solely on constituential majoritities why not just decide each issue with an on-line referendum and eliminate ms. cipher’s position entirely? And what to do with mr. grisanti who MUST cast his vote based on the bigoted musings of ancient ignoramuses?


  1. One Vote To Make History « - June 16, 2011

    […] yesterday’s Assembly passage, tomorrow’s vote in the New York State Senate on the Marriage Equality Act (granting equal […]

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