NEW YORK, June 19 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Today, by a vote of 85 to 61, the New York State Assembly passed a bill sponsored by Governor Eliot Spitzer to extend the freedom to marry to same sex couples. Only two other legislative chambers - both Houses of the California legislature - have passed similar legislation in the past. The bill now moves to the State Senate, where Republicans hold a narrow majority. The leader of the senate, Joseph L. Bruno (R/C- Rensselaer-Saratoga) has said he personally would not support the bill, and said it was "not a priority in the Senate." The session is slated to end on Thursday. Statement by Matt Foreman, Executive Director National Gay and Lesbian Task Force "This great day for New York and the nation shows that when the courts fail us - as they did so appallingly in New York last summer - we can and will press on to win marriage equality through the state legislatures. We thank Governor Spitzer for introducing this bill, Assembly member Danny O'Donnell, its sponsor, for leading the charge and compelling his colleagues to have the courage to act, and most of all, Alan Van Capelle and the Empire State Pride Agenda for their dogged organizing and lobbying from Buffalo to Montauk. If anyone thinks this was an easy job because New York is so 'liberal,' they don't know a thing about Albany. "Now, the focus shifts to the State Senate and its Majority Leader, Joe Bruno. I know from personal experience that Senator Bruno is a thoughtful and decent man who is moved by injustice. We urge him to allow the bill, sponsored by our own Tom Duane, to come to the floor and allow all members to vote their consciences. "Finally, we call upon the State Assembly to pass the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA), which would ban discrimination based upon gender identity and expression. It's a disgrace that the bill has languished four years, while so many other states have taken action.
SOURCE National Gay and Lesbian Task Force