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Schumer Comes Out For
Gay Marriage

Schumer Comes Out For
Gay Marriage

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Senior New York senator Charles Schumer is following in the footsteps of the state's junior senator, Kirsten Gillibrand, to support same-sex marriage.

Senior New York Senator Charles Schumer is following in the footsteps of the state's junior senator, Kirsten Gillibrand, to support same-sex marriage.

Gillibrand found her North Star on the issue in January, the night before Gov. David Paterson announced her as his pick to take Hillary Clinton's Senate seat -- indicating Gillibrand's new statewide constituency is much more liberal than that of her conservative upstate congressional district. That left Schumer as the lone holdout for civil unions among New York's statewide elected officials (the governor, attorney general, and state comptroller were already on board with gay marriage).

According to a press release issued by the Empire State Pride Agenda, Schumer went public for marriage and the repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act (which he voted for in 1996) at a dinner with LGBT elected officials and equality organizations Sunday night that reportedly included state assembly members Deborah Glick, Daniel O'Donnell, and Micah Kellner and New York City council speaker Christine Quinn.

"I want to thank Senator Schumer for his support of marriage equality and the repeal of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act," Alan Van Capelle, executive director of the Pride Agenda, said in a statement. "Like a majority of New Yorkers, Senator Schumer recognizes that only marriage equality provides same-sex couples the status, protections, and rights afforded to all other Americans. We look forward to working with him to win marriage equality in New York State and around the country."

Schumer's office confirmed his change of heart on marriage and DOMA to Liz Benjamin of the New York Daily News and issued the following statement (which managed to dodge any direct mention of either gay marriage or DOMA): "It's time. Equality is something that has always been a hallmark of America and no group should be deprived of it. New York, which has always been at the forefront on issues of equality, is appropriately poised to take a lead on this issue."

Schumer becomes the 10th U.S. senator to support marriage equality, joining senators Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein (California), Edward Kennedy (Massachusetts), Frank Lautenberg (New Jersey), Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden (Oregon), Sheldon Whitehouse (Rhode Island), and Russ Feingold (Wisconsin), and Gillibrand. Al Franken's confirmation as senator from Minnesota would tip the total to 11.

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