MARRIAGE DIGEST: N.Y. governor proposes 'gay marriage' bill in state legislature
NEW YORK (BP)--New York will become the next state to legalize "gay marriage" if a proposal by Gov. Eliot Spitzer passes the legislature.
The Democratic governor backed "gay marriage" during last year's election, and on April 27 introduced a bill in the legislature that would grant marriage licenses to homosexual couples.
But the bill faces a "steep climb" in the legislature, The New York Times reported. Republicans control the Senate, Democrats the Assembly. Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno opposes "gay marriage," although Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver has not taken a stance, the newspaper said.
Spitzer has acknowledged the bill probably will not pass in the short session this year. He did not mention the bill in his State of the State speech and has not made it one of his top priorities.
"I think most who are close to the issue would agree with me that it's not likely to be passed in the next nine and a half weeks," he was quoted as saying.
Even if the bill does not pass, Spitzer's promotion of it is a big step toward "gay marriage" legalization there. The New York Democratic Party went on record in 2003 supporting "gay marriage."
Spitzer left no doubt during the campaign where he stood.
"We should make gay marriage legal in New York State," he said in an October speech to the Empire State Pride Agenda, a homosexual activist group. "No New Yorker should be deprived of the right to marry the person of their choice, regardless of gender. This is not about forcing any religion to perform or recognize gay marriage. It's simply about permitting gay and lesbian couples the right to live in stable, long-term married relationships."
Although 27 states have adopted constitutional amendments aimed at protecting the natural definition of marriage, some of the nation's most populous states -- including California and New York -- have not. In fact, a lawsuit seeking "gay marriage" legalization will be heard by the California Supreme Court in the coming months. "Gay marriage" legalization in California, the nation's most populous state, and New York, the third most populous state, could have a ripple effect on the rest of the country.
Not surprisingly, The New York Times editorial board backs Spitzer's effort.
"The news that Gov. Eliot Spitzer will soon introduce a bill to legalize same-sex marriage -- what he calls 'a simple moral imperative' -- is welcome and could give new national momentum to this important cause," an April 24 editorial read. "Mr. Spitzer would be the first governor in the nation to introduce a gay marriage bill. But if he is going to make a real difference, rather than simply checking off a box to fulfill a campaign promise, he will have to fight for the law vigorously."
WASH. STATE BILL SIGNED INTO LAW -- Washington state Gov. Chris Gregoire signed a bill into law April 21 legalizing domestic partnerships, giving same-sex couples some, but not all, of the state legal benefits of marriage. The Olympian newspaper reported the law gives couples about 15 new benefits, such as those dealing with inheritance.
"This is a very proud moment for me as governor, to make sure the rights of all people are equal," Gregoire, a Democrat, was quoted as saying.
Opponents, though, said the new law simply is a step toward "gay marriage" legalization -- a point that even supporters of the new law acknowledged. During debate on the bill, Democratic state Rep. Ed Murray said he and other backers of "same-sex marriage" aren't giving up.
“We'll keep coming back and keep telling the story and hope people go, 'Geez, let's just get it over with, let's pass marriage,'" he said, according to the Seattle Times.
WAITING FOR A DECISION IN MD. -- Any day now, the Maryland Court of Appeals -- the highest court in the state -- will issue its much-awaited decision that could make it the second state to legalize "gay marriage."
The court heard oral arguments Dec. 4. The American Civil Liberties Union filed the lawsuit on behalf of nine same-sex couples and one homosexual man whose partner is deceased.