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

GAVIN NEWSOM X100 200809 (GETTY) | ADVOCATE.COM

Newsom also
harkened back to the plight of the Lovings, noting the words
of wisdom originally delivered to Richard Loving by a judge
in that case: “God, sir, put different races on
different continents for a reason. God never wanted
the races to mix.” As a practicing Catholic born and
raised, Newsom then observed, “How reminiscent
those words are to so many of the words that are being
used today against same-sex marriage -- same evocative
tone and tenor. And I find that particularly offensive, but
that’s exactly the type of language we’re
hearing in California today.”

Fast forwarding
to his front-row seat at the State of the Union in 2004,
Newsom remembered watching President Bush highlight what he
believed were the greatest issues of the day:
Abstinence, drug testing, steroid use, and the defense
of marriage. Rather sobering, given the state of the
union at present.

Despite other
national challenges, Newsom underscored the importance of
the marriage battle at hand. “I’ve seen some
polls that show us down by four points, not up by
eight or nine as a lot of polls have been advertised
to suggest,” he said. “This is going to be
extraordinarily close. If we win this thing, I think
it will be a dramatic tipping point in the history of
this issue.”

In total, six
people spoke, including out New York City Council speaker
Christine Quinn and the couple who hosted the event, Ira
Statfeld & Michael Recanati. But the draw for the
evening were three heterosexual men -- Newsom,
Paterson and SF City Attorney Dennis Herrera -- all of
whom have demonstrated in word and deed a passionate
commitment to ensuring that same-sex couples
eventually get equal protection under the law.

Newsom, in
particular, whose political career was declared all but dead
four years ago, looked like a marathoner who was hitting his
stride after some rocky terrain.

“We
can’t run the 90-yard dash on equality,” he
said, in closing.

“Particularly of the Democratic Party, I expect a
little bit more. ‘Separate is not
equal,’ we say in one breath, and then all the sudden
in the next breath we say, ‘Well, can’t
you just call it something else for the gay and
lesbian community?’

“What an
outrage!

You cannot run
the 90-yard dash on equality.

Words matter.

Separate is not
equal.

Civil unions is
not marriage.

Marriage is
equality.

That’s
what we’re fighting for with Proposition 8.”

If it sounds
poetic, it was.

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