The New Yorkers United for Marriage coalition released its first statewide mailer Friday, which will be sent to more than 200,000 households, urging recipients to contact state lawmakers to pass a marriage equality bill in the next five weeks.
According to a news release from the coalition, the mailer includes a reply card that will allow voters to let lawmakers know about their support for marriage equality. The mailer features a Nassau County couple, Paul and Iris Blumenthal, who want to see their son Jonathan marry.
“We’d love to invite you to our son’s wedding,” reads the mailer. “Sadly, he’s not allowed to get married.”
Nassau County on Long Island is the home of Dean Skelos, the Republican majority leader of the state senate, who has promised not to block a vote on the marriage equality bill, although he personally opposes the measure. Nassau and nearby Suffolk County are represented entirely by Republican senators, none of whom publicly support the bill, although their support is essential for the success of the measure, which died in the senate in 2009. Two consecutive polls in the past month also show majority support for marriage equality legislation among voters in the New York City suburbs, including Long Island.
As of Friday, no marriage equality bill had been introduced in the senate, with Gov. Andrew Cuomo indicating this week that he wants to secure the 32 votes required for passage in the chamber before holding a vote. Assemblymember Daniel O’Donnell introduced a bill in his chamber this week, indicating an unwillingness to wait for the governor and advocates.
The new mailer follows a statewide TV ad launched last week by New Yorkers United for Marriage, the coalition of five LGBT groups working with Cuomo to pass the bill before the legislative session ends in late June. Advocates say they plan to raise at least $1 million on the TV and mailing campaign to amplify the message of majority support for marriage in the state.
Meanwhile, the National Organization for Marriage announced this week that it would spend $500,000 on TV ads and lobbying in New York, in addition to $1 million the organization pledged to defeat any lawmaker who votes for marriage equality, a repeat of its recent promise in Maryland. The TV ad, which is recycled from a 2009 spot, falsely claims that the bill would force schoolchildren to learn about same-sex marriages in the classroom.