New York Governor Repeats Pledge to Sign Marriage Bill

Gov. David Paterson addressed a packed Empire State Pride Agenda fund-raiser Monday night and said fighting for the equal rights of LGBT people was "as American as the signing of the Constitution." 

BY Kerry Eleveld

October 22 2008 12:00 AM ET

"I am most
pleased that a number of African-American and Hispanic
legislators who at first were unable to see the congruent
connection between the rights of lesbian, gay,
bisexual, and transgender people and our struggle
waged throughout the centuries were able to see it that
night and voted for that legislation," he said.

Paterson warned
against characterizing the battle for equal rights as the
promotion of an agenda. "The fight for people who are gay or
lesbian or bisexual or transgender to have the same
rights as any other Americans is as American as
the signing of the Constitution," he said.

He capped his
speech by reiterating his commitment to passing a marriage
bill and signing it into law: "We're going to persevere, and
we're going to do it with a new sheriff in town who's
going to sign marriage equality legislation."

In a press
conference following his speech, Paterson downplayed the
notion that passage of California's marriage ban,
Proposition 8, would have much impact on passing a
marriage bill in New York.

"I think it would
probably make some people who had been antagonistic to
the idea think that they could remain that way," he said.
"But I think in New York there are enough senators in
the senate as it's comprised right now to pass
this legislation."

Paterson
described how taking a vote on what he called "meaningful
legislation" challenges people to seriously assess the
implications of their vote.

"It's the moment
when people really have to gauge whether or not they
want to deny people who care about each other the right to
formalize it," he said, adding that he believes a
number of assembly members who originally intended to
oppose the marriage bill actually voted to pass it in
the end.

"That's the
reason why I've always been in favor of meaningful
legislation getting to the floor of the house and the
senate, even if it loses," he said.

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