New York Marriage Equality News: Polling At Record 58% For, 36% Against.

Yesterday, Pam treated us to the latest video Human Rights Campaign has released in their New Yorkers for Marriage Equality campaign. This time featuring tough-guy, Law & Order: SVU star and staple of New York celebrity sightings, Christopher Meloni. He says:

“I believe in love, and family, and fairness, and that's why I'm a New Yorker for marriage equality. Already five states and the District of Columbia have marriage equality. It's time for New York to lead again. Join me in Supporting New Yorkers for marriage equality.”

The public opinion polling in the Empire state seems to have become a picture of success. Siena College also released their latest poll of New York State. The trend on marriage equality is still continuing upward. A very strong majority showing support in Siena's latest poll [PDF] of New York voters. 58% say they are supportive, compared with a mere 36% who are opposed:

Same sex marriage now has more support than it’s ever had, with voters 55 and older and Republicans being nearly evenly divided, and voters younger than 55 and Democrats and independents being strongly supportive,” [Siena College pollster Steve] Greenberg said.

Legalizing same-sex marriage was also the number 3 priority cited on the legislative to-do list (distantly, after property tax cap and ethics reform).

Such a pity New York is one of the few states where a ballot initiative isn't possible. More news about New York's move toward marriage equality after the fold.

This Siena College Poll was conducted April 4-6, 2011 by telephone calls to 777 New York State registered voters. It followed tough budget battle which Cuomo is said to have largely won (and, alas, many feel New York progressives lost). The poll also showed Governor Andrew Cuomo's approval rating to be stratospheric, 78/13. Considering reports are he's making marriage equality a real priority, that can only be good news.

Despite Senator Tom Duane's assurances in January that there would be a bill introduced “within weeks,” that has yet to be done.

But the Governor says the effort is on-track, from last week's New York magazine:

According to Marriage Equality New York head Ron Zacchi, Governor Cuomo has told state LGBT leaders he expects a vote on a marriage-equality bill in the State Senate in “six to eight weeks, or maybe sooner.”

Reports are his task force has been meeting consistently to map out strategies.

The bill has passed the State Assembly three times, last time with five Republican votes. I have, however, heard at least one insider express concern if the votes are there this go around, due to Democratic losses in 2010. We don't need a repeat of Maryland, where all the focus is on the Senate, and the lower house fails.

In the Senate, the best-case scenario would require a minimum of three Republican votes. A piece of good news comes on that front via the New York Daily News, the 800-lb gorilla of NY GOP politics, NYC's Mayor Mike Bloomberg is ready to engage:

Mayor Bloomberg is vowing to push state Senate Republicans to support gay marriage.

“If there's a chance to pass a bill, I will do it,” Bloomberg said. “I'll go lobby.” […]

Bloomberg may have the juice to change a few Republican minds: He's been the Senate GOP's largest financial benefactor.

In the 2010 cycle, the Mayor backed six Senate Republicans to the tune of $500,000 according to the New York Times. That isn't chump change for a state Senate race. Four of the six lost, which only means the Mayor's substantial purse strings are up for grabs in 2012. If candidates would like to ingratiate themselves to the Mayor, this could present a truly golden opportunity. Bloomberg has been a consistent and vocal supporter of marriage equality.

LGBT New Yorkers currently enjoy the option of marriage equality by simply going to another jurisdiction such as adjoining Connecticut. The state currently recognizes out of jurisdiction unions. A friend of mine dropped a bundle of cash in CT just this past weekend to tie the knot. (Mavel tov!)

It's a pity we couldn't keep that money in the local economy. Shouldn't he have the option to see his “dream come true” in Grand Prospect Hall, like every other red-blooded Brooklynite?

Let's stop shipping money over state lines, end the Metro North gay marital express!

Grassroots organizing and actions in New York state can be found at Marriage Equality New York. There is a outreach and education day scheduled for May 9. Multiple orgs are collaborating, including Empire State Pride Agenda and Marriage Equality New York. Marriage Equality, New York's Trans discrimination bill, GENDA and other issues of LGBT concern will be on the agenda.

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