There was only one dissenter wandering the field in front of the State House in Albany today, as over 2,000 people rallied for LGBT civil rights for the Empire State Pride Agenda's Equality and Justice Day. The anti-protester, who intoned passages from the Bible as he railed against the "abominations" around him, was quickly chased off by a group of high-school kids wearing Goth makeup and rainbow tights.
During the rally, at which Alan Cumming served as the cheery emcee, bishop Prince Singh of the Episcopal Diocese of Rochester and rabbi Marcelo Bronstein of Congregation B'nai Jeshurun gave benedictions. P-FLAG representative Kate Hathaway read a letter from her daughter, the actress Anne, who was at her first rehearsal for 12th Night at Shakespeare in the Park today. Republican State Assemblywoman Teresa Sayward remarked: "I don't understand why we don't have more Republicans out here. [Marriage equality] is a conservative issue."
The crowd included transgendered parents and their children, teens from the Hettrick Martin Institute and the Harvey Milk School, and elderly couples carrying placards saying how long they'd been partnered up. (Our favorite sign was carried by a lesbian and read: "Shouldn't we all have the right to marry Rachel Maddow?")
They spent the day meeting with state legislators talking about marriage equality, a bullying-in-schools bill (Dignity for All Students), and the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act.
Intel editor Chris sat down with new State Senator Daniel Squadron and State Assemblyman Brian Kavanagh — both of whom support all three issues. But other rallygoers who met with undecided state representatives reported that at least a few seemed to be open to their arguments. Currently, advocates from Marriage Equality New York estimate that there are 22 to 24 senators fully onboard for marriage equality, which was recently introduced in a bill by Governor Paterson and is expected to be passed in the Assembly in the coming weeks. Supporters hope to earn 35 votes, though only 32 are needed for it to pass. To achieve this number, they'll need to win over a handful of Republicans. They have until the legislative session ends on June 20 to pull it off.
Paterson on ‘Guilt’ And Gay Marriage [City Room/NYT]