After disclosing his intent to push for a same-sex marriage bill in Albany months ago, New York Governor David Paterson is finally making good on his promise. Although most expect a gay marriage bill to ultimately fail, activists are glad that the conversation is at least beginning.
Although the State Assembly has already passed a bill to legalize gay marriage, the New York Senate has refused to bring the bill to the floor.
Now that the Democrats are willing to give the bill a go as the election has passed, Paterson is optimistic that gay people will soon have equal rights as they currently do in states like Iowa and Massachusetts.
It is more than about the simple idea of “marriage,” gay couples do not currently have the same rights in areas like taxes, property, inheritances, benefits, and even hospital visitation that straight married couples enjoy.
Though many activists are glad that gay marriage is finally coming up for discussion, some feel that a legislative solution is not the way to legalize it.
Critics argue that all cases of a minority’s rights should ultimately be decided by the courts where a minority’s rights are based on the law, not the prejudices of the majority.
This move comes on the heels of California voting down gay marriage in 2008 and Maine in last week’s elections.
If the Senate does pass a gay marriage bill, it is likely that it will be put to a referendum just as it was in those two states.