Governor Eliot Spitzer fulfilled his chief campaign promise to the LGBT community and introduced a program bill on Apr 27 to enact full civil marriage equality for same-sex couples. The legislation would establish equal recognition, protections, benefits and responsibilities for all married couples in New York regardless of the sex of the partners.
Although Mr. Spitzer acknowledged that the bill has little chance of passing the state legislature, he said that he introduced the legislation as a matter of principle to create a favorable dynamic. The bill was proposed just before hundreds of advocates were expected in Albany on May 1 to lobby legislators for same-sex marriage rights, and other priorities, on LGBT Equality and Justice Day.
Same-sex marriage advocates plan to focus their efforts for now on the Democrat-controlled Assembly, where Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver has not yet taken a position on the issue. Marriage equality proponents face a tougher fight in the Republican-controlled Senate. Senate Majority Leader Joseph L. Bruno has already stated his opposition to the measure.
Mr. Spitzer is the first governor in the country to propose legislation that would legalize same-sex marriages. Massachusetts is the only state that currently allows same-sex marriages, the result of a court decision in 2004.