Bloomberg Pushes for N.Y. Marriage-Equality

By Julie Bolcer

Originally published on Advocate.com March 26 2009 12:00 AM ET

New York City mayor
Michael Bloomberg urged state legislators to pass a bill
legalizing same-sex marriage on Wednesday night, citing
increased support for marriage equality in his appeal for
lawmakers to "do the right thing."

"I think you see that
the tide is turning, that support is mounting," Bloomberg
said to more than 300 people gathered at the annual dinner of
the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Community Center in
Manhattan. "It's still not going to be easy. There are people
who don't agree, but it's incumbent on all of us to explain to
people that this really is a basic right that people should
have, and I think that it's time for Albany to set politics
aside and do the right thing, and pass the gay marriage
bill."

Bloomberg congratulated
U.S. senator Chuck Schumer, who did not attend the dinner, for
becoming the latest example of the changing climate. Senator
Schumer announced his support for same-sex marriage on Sunday,
taking the position already held by all other
statewide officials in New York. In doing so, he
became the 10th U.S. senator to support marriage equality.

The mayor promised to
testify for marriage equality in the state
capital with lesbian New York City Council
speaker Christine Quinn -- who joined him at the dinner -- and
to do "whatever it takes to put the pressure on."

Senate Majority Leader
Malcolm Smith has acknowledged that he does not have
the votes to pass the marriage-equality bill in his chamber at
this time. The assembly passed the same-sex marriage bill in
2007, but it stalled in the senate, which was then controlled
by Republicans. Democrats now control both houses of the
legislature.

Bloomberg remained
confident, if uncommitted to a timeline. "Make no mistake,
the time will come, I think in the nearer term and in the
further out, and we will pass this bill," he said.