New York City Comptroller William C. Thompson, Jr. issued a study on June 5 finding that the legalization of marriage for same-sex partners could bring $184 million in economic benefits to New York State and $118 million for the City. The money would largely be generated in the three years immediately following enactment of legislation. It would be derived primarily from a boost in visitors from other states who travel to New York specifically to get married or attend weddings.
Wedding-related business owners in New York expect requests for their services to soar if same-sex marriage is approved. “Demand for my services really took off in New Jersey when civil unions were legalized, and it’s high in other states with legal marriage,” observes Nancy Swartz, owner of MarryMeGay.com, a company that specializes in gay and lesbian wedding videos. “When the law passes, I imagine I’ll be flooded with calls from people ready to get hitched in a New York minute,” she says.
On May 21, Assemblymember Daniel O’Donnell officially introduced Governor Spitzer’s program bill providing same-sex couples with access to marriage in New York state. The legislation obtained a record 53 co-sponsors, but its fate before the scheduled conclusion of the of the legislative session on June 21 remained unclear.
Comptroller Thompson honored seven LGBT leaders at his 2007 Pride celebration at The Center on May 30. Receiving his appreciation for their contributions to the community were: Rev. Pat Bumgardner, pastor of the Metropolitan Community Church; Doug Wright, Pulitzer Prize- and Tony Award-winning playwright and Grey Gardens musical writer; James E. Law, senior financial planner at Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc.; Rabbi Ayelet Cohen of Congregation Beth Simchat Torah; Denny Meyer, president of American Veterans for Equal Rights New York; Rosemary Palladino, co-founder of Staten Island Stonewall; and, Clarence Patton, executive director of the New York City Gay & Lesbian Anti-Violence Project and acting executive director of the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs.