Assemblymember Rosenthal Condemns Failure of New York State Senate to Pass Marriage Equality Legislation

December 11, 2009

New York, NY – New York State Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal (D/WF, Manhattan), a staunch same-sex marriage advocate, condemned the failure of the New York State Senate to pass marriage equality legislation. The Senate’s vote occurred only hours after the Assembly passed legislation allowing same-sex couples to marry in New York State (A.40003). This is the third time the Assembly has passed this measure since the bill first came to the floor in 2007.

“I voted yes today in this extraordinary session for the thousands of extraordinary people who believe in marriage, who want to marry, and who are not allowed to marry in this state,” said Rosenthal. “I voted yes today for the children of the 46,000 families headed by same-sex couples and I voted yes for the 1,324 state rights and responsibilities and 1,138 federal rights and responsibilities that married couples in New York State can access but same sex couples cannot.”

The legislation would have conferred the same legal rights and responsibilities of marriage that are extended to any other married couple to same-sex couples. The bill would not have required clergy to perform same-sex marriage ceremonies.

“Same-sex couples in New York State have waited long enough for the right to marry, and I am saddened that my colleagues in the Senate have chosen to continue to perpetuate this injustice,” stated Rosenthal. “Although this setback was painful to witness, New Yorkers can take solace in the fact that this tactical defeat will not mark the end of my efforts to advance this cause. New York is moving in the direction of making marriage legal for all couples, regardless of their sexual orientation.”

Had A.40003 passed the State Senate, New York would have become the sixth state in the country to legalize same-sex marriage. Partners are currently unable to enter into a civil marriage in New York State and as such they, and their children, do not have access to the basic legal rights of married couples. These include the right to own property, inheritance, health care, hospital visitation, taxation, insurance coverage, child custody, pension benefits and testimonial privileges. Married couples receive important safeguards against the loss or injury of a spouse and crucial assurance against legal intrusion into their marital privacy.

“It’s time for New York to treat all individuals equally,” said Rosenthal. “The fear-mongering and hatred seen today does not constitute legitimate family values. The same messages were expressed after the Supreme Court ruled that bans on interracial marriages were illegal. Although this is a dark moment for civil rights, I am proud to have voted “yea” on this bill. The State Senate’s refusal to pass this bill is a direct affront to the civil rights of the citizens of this great state.”