Help Us Hear Wedding Bells

We are asking you, our friends and neighbors, gay and straight, for your help.

As many of you have heard, Governor Paterson has proposed that New York State legalize same-sex marriage. This is wonderful news, except that the State Senate is several votes short of passage. We ask you to please contact our representatives to seek their support.

Polls show that a majority of voters in New York State, including in Eastern Suffolk County (our district), now support equal marriage rights. However our representatives have fallen behind the voters.

Senator Ken LaValle

Senator LaValle has voted against our marriages before. We are hoping he will have a change of heart. We are asking you to please:

1. Join us for a visit to Ken LaValle’s office in Selden on Thursday May 21st at 3PM; and / or

2. Contact Senator LaValle and ask him to support marriage equality.

Here is Senator LaValle’s contact information:

State Senator Ken LaValle

631 696 6900

518 455 3121

I have added a brief note at the end of this message that you can copy if you can’t think of what to say. Or you could click on the following link at New York State Pride Agenda:

Assemblyman Fred Thiele

Our Assemblyman Fred Thiele did indeed have a change of heart. Fred voted against our marriages last time but, after some reflection, has changed his mind: He has signed on as a co-sponsor for the upcoming vote!

Although the State Assembly is already on board, Fred’s support has very important symbolic value and helps with the momentum. Thank you Fred!

If you can, please:

1. Join us for a visit to Fred Thiele’s office in Bridgehampton on Friday May 15th at 10AM to congratulate Fred, thank him for his support, and to strategize on how to move forward; and / or

2. Contact Fred and thank him for his support. He will certainly be getting lots of negative responses, too, so he needs to hear from you!

Fred’s contact information:

State Assemblyman Fred Thiele

631 537 2583

If you have any doubts on whether your voice matters, here is quote from a Vermont state senator on his decision to change his vote to support marriage:

Representative Robert South, a freshman from a conservative district, said he reversed his position after 228 of his constituents reached out and urged him to support the override, compared with 198 who urged him to oppose it.

When you speak with others about marriage, please clarify that same-sex couples are not asking to have our marriages sanctified by any religious organization. We are rather seeking equal civil rights for a civil marriage for our family.

Marriage includes over 1,000 rights and responsibilities that we are denied, from the financially annoying, such as me having to pay taxes on Stuart’s health insurance, to the terrifying, such as never being sure whether Southampton Hospital would let me in should something happen to him.

You can imagine how not having our marriage recognized affects our sense of security, and that of our kids.

For a moving view into how California couples responded to the vote which undid marriage rights there, please take a look at this:

Break My Heart Video:

Let’s hope New York State values its citizens more.

We really appreciate your help.

We are hoping to be able to legally marry right here in New York State within the next two years, so that we can celebrate our thirty years together (!), in spring 2011, with a wedding! Wouldn’t that be grand?

Thanks again.




Sample note (inspired by Pride Agenda):


Dear Senator LaValle,

Governor Paterson has recently introduced a bill to secure marriage rights for same-sex couples. As your constituent, I urge you to support the marriage equality bill and vote for it when it comes to the floor.

All New York couples and families deserve the 1,324 rights and responsibilities that come with marriage in New York State. Loving same-sex couples and their children should not be treated as second-class citizens by being denied access to the protections of marriage.

I very much hope you will support the Governor's marriage equality bill. I would appreciate it if you would respond to my concerns on this issue. Thank you.



UPDATE: May 13

The marriage bill (A.7732/O'Donnell)(S.4401/Duane) to provide equal access to marriage for same-sex couples has just passed the State Assembly with bipartisan support. This means that once again, the Assembly has stood on the side of equality and justice for the LGBT community.

Now, we need the State Senate to act!