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Gay rights advocates unite efforts to legalize same-sex marriage in New York

Wednesday, April 20, 2011
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Gay-rights advocates in New York state announced Wednesday the formation of a new coalition to revive efforts towards legalizing same-sex marriage in the Empire state.

Andrew Cuomo, with daughters at a NY pride event in 2010

The coalition — New Yorkers United for Marriage — is an alliance of the Empire State Pride Agenda, Freedom to Marry, Human Rights Campaign and Marriage Equality New York.

The campaign will be relying on the popular Democratic governor, Andrew Cuomo, to overcome Republican resistance and their own history of poor coordination, reported The New York Times.

The groups hope to avoid a repeat of 2009, when the marriage equality bill failed by eight votes in the state Senate.

Via Capitol Confidential:

“Today, we stand closer than ever to allowing all loving, committed couples to legally marry here in New York,” said Ross Levi, Executive Director of the Empire State Pride Agenda.

“We’ve sent a loud and clear message during the last two years that supporting the LGBT community isn’t just the right thing to do, but it’s also good politics, and this unprecedented coalition will amplify that message.”

The new partnership comes amid polls showing an unprecedented and growing majority of New Yorkers – 58 percent – in favor of legalizing marriage for gay and lesbian couples, and Governor Cuomo’s making marriage equality a priority of his legislative agenda.

“Last time, there were lots of players, lots of organizations, lots of good will, but not the truly united effort that has come together to work hand in glove with the governor and legislative leaders,” said Evan Wolfson, the president of Freedom to Marry.

The coalition could spend as much as $1 million on lobbying and ads to pressure lawmakers, organizers said. They are planning a rally in Albany on May 9.

“I want to be the governor who signs the law that makes equality a reality in the state of New York,” Cuomo told attendees at an Empire State Pride Agenda event in October.

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