Cuomo pushes for gay marriage in latest video message

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In his fourth video message in the past two weeks, Gov. Andrew Cuomo asked New Yorkers to urge their state lawmakers to support gay marriage, saying it “is not a question of religion or culture but a question of legal rights and government policy.”

Cuomo said in the video, which was released today and first reported by The New York Times, that the state “has fallen behind” on the issue of same-sex marriage.

“It’s hard to imagine today, but at one time it was illegal for an interracial couple to marry in this country,” Cuomo said. “We have come a long way and now it is time to go even further. So please join me in supporting marriage equality, equality for all New Yorkers.”

All eyes are on the Senate when it comes to same-sex marriage. In 2009, a bill that would have legalized gay marriage failed in that house, 34-28.

Gay-rights groups have focused on a handful of Republican senators who vote “yes,” including Sen. James Alesi, R-Perinton. The Monroe County senators has declined to reveal his position, but appeared at an Empire State Pride Agenda  dinner in Rochester over the weekend, according to the New York Post.

Cuomo has included gay marriage as one of his top three legislative issues, along with a property-tax cap and ethics reform.

The transcript of his latest video message can be found below:

Hello, I’m Governor Andrew Cuomo.New Yorkers have a proud, progressive history as national leaders towards greater equality and respect for all.

From the fight for women’s suffrage to the struggle for civil rights, New Yorkers have been on the right side of history. Indeed New Yorkers have made history.

But on the issue of marriage equality, New York has fallen behind.

Same-sex couples are denied rights that other New Yorkers take for granted.

Same-sex couples are denied over 1000 federal and 700 state rights that are afforded to millions of others.

Rights as basic as being able to visit the person you love in the emergency room.

The opportunity to protect and care for one another.

The freedom to express their lifelong commitment.

And the basic dignity of having that relationship recognized by the state they call home.

This is a matter of fairness and equality.

It is not a question of religion or culture but a question of legal rights and government policy.

When it comes to fighting for what’s right, New Yorkers wrote the book, and marriage equality is the next chapter of our civil rights story.

It’s hard to imagine today, but at one time it was illegal for an interracial couple to marry in this country. We have come a long way and now it is time to go even further.

So please join me in supporting marriage equality, equality for all New Yorkers.

Contact your state legislators and urge them to vote yes on marriage equality.

Thank you.

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