New York State Governor David Paterson called the state’s Legislature to Albany for a special session November 9 and 10, focused on cutting the budget and on legalizing same-sex marriage in New York. Though the marriage issue didn’t make it to the floor by the end of the November 10 session because both opponents and proponents claimed it didn’t have enough votes, Paterson urged lawmakers to consider a same-sex marriage bill at additional sessions to be held the following week.
Despite New York’s reputation as a liberal enclave, opponents of Paterson’s proposed measure made their voices heard. Because it was joined with a budget provision, however, the Legislature was, theorectically obligated to attend the extraordinary session; at least this was the hoped for strategy. Though Paterson has shown his support, there is no guarantee that the Senate will give final approval to same-sex marriage, which has already passed in the State Assembly, or that lawmakers will even vote on it at all as part of Paterson’s budget agenda.
“New York has a reputation for being at the forefront in the fight to eliminate the vestiges of discrimination, but we have not kept up with many of our neighboring states when it comes to ensuring basic equality for lesbian and gay New Yorkers,” New York State Senator Liz Krueger wrote in a blog on huffingtonpost.com. Krueger urged her fellow State Senators to support same- gender marriage, adding that “denying couples marriage recognition by the State serves to discriminate not only against the individuals wishing to enter into those mar- riages, but also harms all of us who remain living in a society where we know that we are allowing family, friends and neighbors to be discriminated against by their government.”
The call from Governor Paterson came just as his team launched its first television ads in the 2010 Governor’s race; Paterson, who automatically became Governor after former New York Governor Elliot Spitzer was dethroned as a result of a nasty hooker scandal, will be seeking election this time around.