Newsom, Paterson Headline Prop. 8 Fund-Raiser In New York

San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom and New York governor David Paterson combined forces for a Manhattan fund-raiser Thursday. Paterson charmed the intimate crowd with his usual candor and Newsom fostered a sense of urgency, saying he had seen polls that put the opposition four points ahead of those who oppose the ban.

BY Kerry Eleveld

September 26 2008 12:00 AM ET

New York Governor
David Paterson and San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom
tag-teamed a $5,000-per-person fundraiser Thursday night in
Manhattan to defeat California’s marriage ban,
Proposition 8. Figures for the total dollars raised
were not immediately available.

“I just
feel in some ways badly,” Gov. Paterson told the
intimate gathering of roughly 60 people, “with
all the problems that we have right now and our
economy reeling at this time, that we have to spend time
dealing with this issue -- it actually offends me.”

But Paterson, who
became the first governor to say he would recognize
California’s same-sex marriages following the
state’s Supreme Court ruling, added a good bit
of levity to the evening. Recounting the fact that
Richard and Mildred Loving -- the plaintiffs in Loving v.
Virginia -- were originally arrested for violating the
Marriage Integrity Act, Paterson quipped, “I
thought 'marriage integrity' spoke to how you behaved
after you got married.”

Paterson drew an
analogy between gay marriages and common-law marriages
from other states -- unions New York has recognized for
years. “We recognize the rights that people
derive from other states, it’s really that
simple,” said the New York governor, who has
supported marriage equality for gays and lesbians
since 1995. “It’s this little unknown part
of the Constitution called the Full Faith and Credit Clause
-- it’s so big in the Constitution even I can
read it,” he added to applause and cheers.
Paterson is legally blind.

While attendees
welcomed Paterson’s dry wit, Newsom played the more
solemn role of the two, starting with a heartfelt thanks to
the governor for his personal support during a
time when Mayor Newsom had become a political hot
potato.

“In 2004,
there wasn’t a politician outside of San Francisco
who wanted anything to do with the politicians in San
Francisco,” Newsom said, recalling the fallout
from his decision to issue same-sex marriage licenses.
“It was a big to deal to me, and I mean it sincerely,
when then-Lt. Gov. David Paterson showed up to an
event in New York and not only showed up, he was
willing to take a picture with me -- it was an issue,
trust me -- and gave remarkable comments that gave me a
sense of optimism about the Democratic Party as much
as it did about the issue of equality.”

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