The directory sites/ does not exist.
2006-06-08 / From The Mayor...

From The Mayor's Desk ...

A Time to Celebrate Our Diversity

Last week, Pride Month began when New Yorkers of every sexual orientation celebrate the achievements of our gay community. The diversity and tolerance of our city has always been our greatest strength. How else could so many people of different backgrounds and cultures live side by side? And if we want to preserve that strength, we must ensure that New York remains a place where all communities can grow, thrive, and enjoy equal protection under the law.

That's why we have worked hard to protect the rights of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community over the last five years. If someone works for the City, his or her same-sex partner can receive health care benefits if the couple is registered with the City as domestic partners. And the City now recognizes same-sex marriages and civil unions performed in other states and nations for the purpose of extending rights and benefits, including pensions and accidental death benefits.

At the State level, we fought for the successful passage of the Sexual Orientation Non-Discrimination Act, which Governor Pataki signed into law, and which outlaws discrimination throughout New York State against gays and lesbians in employment, housing, and other areas. And because the U.S. Constitution should be something that unites rather than divides Americans, I remain firmly opposed to a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriages.

Also this week, the Court of Appeals-the State's highest court-will begin hearing arguments in a case that will decide whether New York City may issue licenses for same-sex marriages. I've stated my feelings about this matter many times, and I'll repeat them now: I believe all New Yorkers should have the right to marry whomever they choose, regardless of sexual orientation.

As it stands today, there have been conflicting court decisions on this issue across the state: Several courts have found that same-sex marriages are not legal, while a lower court in New York City found that they are legal.

If the Court of Appeals rules that same-sex marriages are legal, then we'll perform them. If they rule the other way, our Administration will begin working with the State Legislature for a new law that establishes marriage equality for all New Yorkers, and we'll do so in partnership with City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and the growing number of elected and civic leaders who stand with us.

I do not believe that government should be in the business of telling us who we can and can't marry. As Mayor, I have an obligation to enforce the laws of the City and State, but I also have an equal obligation to work to change laws that I do not believe are in our City's best interest. As Pride Month approaches, it's time to recommit ourselves to achieving a fully inclusive society-one I believe should respect the rights of everyone to marry and raise families, legally, securely, and in peace.

Return to top

Copyright© 2000 - 2017
Canarsie Courier Publications, Inc.
All Rights Reserved