April 17, 2009

Gov. Prosposes Bill to Legalize Gay Marriage

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Gov. David Paterson (D-N.Y.) introduced a bill yesterday that would legalize gay marriage in New York.
“For too long, gay and lesbian New Yorkers — we have pretended they have the same rights as their neighbors and friends. That is not the case. All have been the victims of what is a legal system that has systematically discriminated against him,” Paterson said at a news conference yesterday, according to the Associated Press.
The bill comes on the heels of recent victories for gay rights advocates in Iowa and Vermont, where a court and a legislature, respectively, approved same-sex marriage. Con­nec­ticut and Massa­chusetts are the only other states that permit same-sex marriage.
Paterson first an­nounced his plan to file the same-sex marriage bill last Wednesday on Ithaca radio station WHCU-AM.
While New York Democrats gained a slim majority last year’s elections, Senate Majority Leader Malcolm Smith, who supports the bill, has said he doesn’t believe it will pass, the Associated Press reported.
According to Mary Opperman, vice president for human resources, the legalization of gay marriage would allow the University to completely fulfill its commitment to equal opportunity and diversity.
Opperman said that while the University offers same-sex partner benefits and makes benefits available to “same sex couples as equal as possible a way to those for married couples,” the law is prohibitive to a certain extent.
“In some cases, the laws restrict how equally we can treat a same sex couple [versus] a married couple because same sex couples are not married,” she said, citing an example of when the law requires the University to tax benefits unequally for same-sex partners.
“If the change in NYS law allows us to treat all married couples the same, regardless of sexual orientation, then this would permit us to make our benefits truly equal and that would be a fantastic outcome,” Opperman said.