‘Unprecedented’ coalition pressing for marriage equality in New York
An alliance of gay rights groups — along with New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) — are launching a new effort to legalize same sex marriage in New York by this summer.
The Empire State Pride Agenda, the Human Rights Campaign, Freedom to Marry and Marriage Equality New York announced Wednesday that they had joined together to create a new organization called New Yorkers United for Marriage.
“I think we are thrilled that we have unprecedented unity,” the Empire State Pride Agenda’s Ross Levi said on a conference call announcing the effort Wednesday. “We thought that as closely as our groups have been working — and we have been for a long time — we needed to take that, we wanted to take that to the next level to be able to show the world that unity that we have.”
“And that’s why we are thrilled to form this coalition so everyone could be crystal clear that we are speaking with one voice, saying that we have one clear goal and that’s to achieve marriage for all loving committed couples in New York state.”
The new group hopes to overcome the hurdles of poor communication and Republican opposition that led to the defeat of a same sex marriage bill in 2009.
“Last time, there were lots of players, lots of organizations, lots of good will, but not the truly united effort that has come together to work hand in glove with the governor and legislative leaders,” Evan Wolfson, the president of Freedom to Marry, told The New York Times.
Two of the Democratic senators that helped defeat the bill in 2009 have been replaced by lawmakers who support the effort. Now just six more senators are needed to pass the measure.
“Our lessons have told us nobody should be considered unreachable,” Levi said. “We have seen in other states, we have seen in the Assembly that legislators evolve just like people evolve.”
“We are committed that every elected official hear the will of the people, hear the silent majority of 58 percent of New Yorkers who want to see this done,” he added.
New Yorkers United for Marriage intends to raise more than $1 million which will enable them launch a media blitz. Veteran media strategist Jennifer Cunningham of SKD Knickerbocker will oversee the effort.