New York State Senate “Embraces Discrimination” by Rejecting Marriage Equality, GMHC says

New York, NY — Gay Men’s Health Crisis (GMHC) expressed deep disappointment that the New York State Senate today failed to extend marriage benefits and protections to same-sex couples.   The Senate rejected the Marriage Equality Bill (S4401) by a vote of 38 to 24.  According to the Empire State Pride Agenda and the New York City Bar Association there are currently are 1,324 benefits and rights that are not afforded to same-sex couples under state law because they are unable to marry.  

“Today is a sad day for New York,” said Marjorie J. Hill, PhD, Chief Executive Officer of GMHC. “After much delay, the State Senate missed an opportunity to take a courageous stand for equality and against bigotry.  Instead the New York State Senate embraced discrimination against a group of citizens.”

Same-sex couples and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people are treated unequally under many public policies in New York and across the United States.  Gay and bisexual men comprise nearly three in five new HIV diagnoses in the US, even though they represent just two percent of the adult population.  GMHC believes that anti-gay policies and the anti-gay stigma that fuels the HIV epidemic are inextricably linked.    A recent article in the Journal of African American Studies highlights that anti-gay family policies have a disproportionate impact on black and Latino same-sex couples and their families.

The failure to pass this legislation is also a missed opportunity to address our state’s critical financial crisis.  In a May 2009 study, New York City Comptroller William Thompson estimated that New York State could earn up to $210 million in the three years immediately following recognition of same-sex marriage.  

Same sex couples can legally marry in five states, four of them in the Northeast.  

GMHC thanks Governor Paterson, the Senators who stood up for equality today by taking a courageous vote despite conservative districts and especially Senator Tom Duane, the host of the bill, and those in the Assembly who have fought for fairness.  We also thank the Empire State Pride Agenda for its leadership on this issue.   

Here is a list of State Senators and how they voted:

Voted “Yes”

Eric Adams, D-Brooklyn
Neil Breslin, D-Delmar
Martin Dilan, D-Brooklyn
Thomas Duane, D-Manhattan
Pedro Espada, D-Bronx
Brian Foley, D-Suffolk 
Ruth Hassell-Thompson, D-Bronx/Westchester 
Craig Johnson, D-Nassau
Jeffrey Klein, D-Bronx/Westchester
Liz Krueger, D-Manhattan
Velmanette Montgomery, D-Brooklyn
Suzi Oppenheimer, D-Westchester
Kevin Parker, D-Brookyn
Bill Perkins, D-Manhattan
John Sampson, D-Brooklyn 
Diane Savino, D-Staten Island/Brooklyn
Eric Schneiderman, D-Manhattan/Bronx
Jose Serrano, D-Bronx/Manhattan
Malcolm Smith, D-Queens
Daniel Squadron, D-Brooklyn/Manhattan
Toby Ann Stavisky, D-Queens
Andrea Stewart-Cousins, D-Westchester
Antoine Thompson, D-Buffalo
David Valesky, D-Oneida

Voted “No”

Joseph Addabbo, D-Queens 
James Alesi, R-East Rochester 
Darrel Aubertine, D-Cape Vincent
John Bonacic, R-Mt. Hope 
John DeFrancisco, R-Syracuse
Ruben Diaz Sr., D-Bronx
Hugh Farley, R-Niskayuna
John Flanagan, R-Suffolk
Charles Fuschillo, R-Nassau/Suffolk 
Martin Golden, R-Brooklyn
Shirley Huntley, D-Queens
Joseph Griffo, R-Rome
Kemp Hannon, R-Nassau
Owen Johnson, R-Suffolk 
Carl Kruger, D-Brooklyn 
Andrew Lanza, R-Staten Island
William Larkin, R-Cornwall
Kenneth LaValle, R-Suffolk
Vincent Leibell, R-Westchester 
Thomas Libous, R-Binghamton
Elizabeth Little, R-Queensbury
Carl Marcellino, R-Nassau/Suffolk
George Maziarz, R-Newfane
Roy McDonald, R-Saratoga 
Hiram Monserrate, D-Queens 
Thomas Morahan, R-Rockland 
Michael Nozzolio, R-Seneca Falls 
George Onorato, D-Queens
Frank Padavan, R-Queens/Bronx/Nassau
Michael Ranzenhofer, R-Amherst
Joseph Robach, R-Greece 
Stephen Saland, R-Poughkeepsie 
James Seward, R-Milford
Dean Skelos, R-Nassau
William Stachowski, D-Buffalo
Dale Volker, R-Depew
George Winner, R-Elmira
Catharine Young, R-Olean