Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Bloomberg's Case for Marriage Equality

New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg delivered a significant address Thursday afternoon in which he made an intellectual and personal case for the marriage equality bill that could come before the state legislature within weeks.
The nearly 20-minute speech, delivered in Manhattan before more than 150 invited guests of the administration, positioned marriage equality as the next step in the inevitable expansion of “freedom, liberty, and equality” that has defined the American experience through the abolition of slavery, workers’ rights, women’s rights, and minority civil rights. The mayor made special mention of New York City as the home of the Stonewall Inn, site of the 1969 uprising credited with sparking the modern gay rights movement.

“The time has come for us to fulfill the dreams that exploded into Sheridan Square 42 years ago to allow thousands of men and women to become full members of the American family, and to take the next step on the inspired journey our founding fathers first began,” said Bloomberg to the audience at Cooper Union, which was founded by abolitionist Peter Cooper.

His speech argued for marriage equality in highly personal terms while also directing appeals toward undecided state senators, whom he described as “torn,” urging them to vote on the right side of history. Last week Bloomberg, a Republican turned independent, made his first visit to Albany for the exclusive purpose of lobbying members of that chamber, where no Republican supported the bill in 2009, when it passed the assembly for a third time but failed in the senate.

“It is my hope that members of the state senate majority will recognize that supporting marriage equality is not only consistent with our civic principles — it is consistent with conservative principles,” he said. “Conservatives believe that government should not intrude into people’s personal lives — and it’s just none of government’s business who you love.”

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