Equality and Justice Day Dispatch

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Intel Editor Chris is up in Albany today attending Equality and Justice Day, along with over 2,000 LGBT New Yorkers and their straight allies [Ed., Pressler: Ahem, some of their straight allies. Others are busy holding down the fort]. Sponsored by the Empire State Pride Agenda, the day is aimed at persuading legislators to pass bills for marriage equality, protection against bias-based bullying in schools, and gender-expression nondiscrimination. All day long, constituents are scheduled to meet with legislators, and a rally is planned for later in the afternoon. This morning, Governor Paterson addressed the group. "Let not Proposition 8 be a detriment, let it be a call to arms," he said to a standing ovation, comparing the timing of the current struggle for marriage equality to women's suffrage, emancipation, and the Americans With Disabilities Act — all civil-rights leaps that were defeated less than a decade before they were passed. Openly gay State Senator Tom Duane followed Paterson, and, on a lighter note, urged attendees to tell their stories.

"If you gotta go," he urged transgender members of the audience, "make sure you go at the same time as one of my colleagues, and chat about it when you're in the restroom."

State Assemblyman Danny O'Donnell noted that the marriage-equality bill, introduced by Governor Paterson, will go live in the Assembly on Monday. It passed there the last time it went to a vote, and O'Donnell vowed it swiftly would again. "I would not want to be standing in the path of this movement," he added. "This is about humanity."