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Sam Waterston for N.Y. Marriage Equality

Sam Waterston for N.Y. Marriage Equality

Law & Order star Sam Waterston joins the video series for marriage equality in New York from the Human Rights Campaign.

"Let's make the system fair and end institutionalized bigotry," says the Academy Award nominee and Golden Globe winner known for his long-running portrayal of Manhattan district attorney Jack McCoy on the NBC crime drama.

The 30-second spot marks the second by an actor from the Law & Order franchise following a video last week by Christopher Meloni of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. A total of three campaign videos have drawn from the world of law enforcement figures, fictional and real. Earlier this month, former New York City police commissioner Bill Bratton and his wife, Rikki Klieman, a criminal defense attorney, released a video to express their support.

"We are on the brink of marriage equality in New York," said Brian Ellner, senior strategist for HRC in New York. "We are excited to have Sam Waterston lend his voice to our New Yorkers for Marriage Equality campaign, joining elected leaders, celebrities, and everyday New Yorkers in the fight for fairness."

Last week, the Siena Research Institute released poll results showing that 58% of New Yorkers, all-time high percentage, support marriage equality, while opposition has dropped to 36%, a record low. The state senate defeated the marriage equality bill in 2009, but Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who enjoys high approval ratings among voters, has pledged to push for another vote by June when the legislative session ends.

The timing of a marriage equality vote remains unclear, but lawmakers, currently on a two-week break following the passage of an on-time budget, are scheduled to return to Albany May 2. The following week, the Empire State Pride Agenda, the statewide LGBT advocacy group, plan to bring hundreds of New Yorkers to the state capitol for a major lobby day.

The New Yorkers for Marriage Equality campaign, which has appeared online and on the city's Taxi TV, features prominent New Yorkers to move viewers to lobby their state lawmakers. Other videos in the New Yorkers for Marriage Equality campaign so far have included Barbara Bush, daughter of former president George W. Bush; New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg; former mayors Ed Koch and David Dinkins; former police commissioner Bill Bratton and Rikki Klieman; Robert F. Kennedy Jr.; Joan Rivers; Whoopi Goldberg; Lucy Liu; Kyra Sedgwick and Kevin Bacon; Russell Simmons; Julianne Moore; Ethan and Ryan Hawke; Christopher Meloni; Moby; Brent Ridge and Josh Kilmer-Purcell; Fran Drescher; Mark and Sunrise Ruffalo; chefs Mario Batali, David Chang, and Tom Colicchio; Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe; Kenneth Cole; John Slattery; and Daphne Rubin-Vega.
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