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This is not a Democratic or Republican issue. It is a question of New York going forward or backward.

Lt. Gov. says gay marriage among top issues

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New York Lt. Gov. Robert Duffy told a major gay marriage rally at the State Capitol that his boss, Governor Andrew Cuomo, is with them all the way on the issue.

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Reported by

Karen DeWitt
NYS Capitol Correspondent

Lieutenant Governor Duffy told hundreds of gay marriage supporters, gathered from across the state, that the governor is strongly “committed” to legalizing same sex marriage, saying it’s one of the governor’s “top three issues”. Despite Cuomo’s absence from the rally, the governor was at the Capitol but did not speak at the event, Duffy says no one should doubt the governor’s resolve. 

“Sometimes people will question, ‘where does the governor stand?’,” said Duffy. “You don’t have to question”.

Duffy, who grew up Catholic, says he believes same sex marriage is a “basic civil right”. He says the lack of equal rights to marriage can be just as much of a catalyst for people to “flee” the state as have been high taxes and excessive regulations.

Ross Levi, of Empire State Pride Agenda, one of the organizers of the event, says he’s not concerned that the Governor sent his number two in command to the rally, but is “thrilled” with support of both the governor and lieutenant and governor.

Cuomo later announced, in a statement from the state Democratic Party, that he would record - robo calls to rally New Yorkers in support of gay marriage. In the script provided, the governor will say  “this is not a Democratic or Republican issue. It is a question of New York going forward or backward”.

Supporters later rallied in front of the Capitol building on a sunny spring day, chanting “equality and justice for all”.

Renee Boyd and her partner, who have been a couple for twenty years, say they are excited about the prospect of finally being able to marry.

“We’ve been together over twenty years,” said Boyd. “And we won’t get married until we’re able to get married in my home town, Brooklyn.” 

The measure has been approved in the State Assembly in the past, it failed in the state Senate in 2009.   Senate Leader Dean Skelos has said he will permit a bill to come to the floor again this year, but has not set a date.

Opponents of gay marriage, including State Senator and evangelical minister Ruben Diaz, a Bronx Democrat, plan their own rallies against the measure later this month.

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