Game On, New York
May 03, 2011 at 08:11 am
- Leadership. Governor Andrew Cuomo is working very hard to pass a bill this session. He’s tasked his senior staff to work closely with advocates to ensure that, together, we have an all-out effort that gives us the best chance to win. After passing a budget in near-record time, his political capital and popularity are at very high levels. So his personal and outspoken leadership should give all of us confidence that this opportunity is real.
- Work on the Ground. The grassroots organizing that’s taking place in key legislative districts is spot-on. Through the New Yorkers United for Marriage coalition, there’s a band of HRC and Pride Agenda organizers on the ground collecting post cards and letters to lawmakers, going door-to-door, organizing couples to meet with lawmakers, finding businesses that will speak out about why marriage is important, enlisting “grasstop” leaders like clergy and local electeds—all focused on making the case to lawmakers who have not yet voted for the freedom to marry.
- Electoral Muscle. Making the case to lawmakers in their districts is one thing; showing them that a vote against the freedom to marry could be costly to their political future is another. Both are essential, but nothing shows clout more than playing a crucial electoral role. After the 2009 loss in the state Senate, advocates established the Fight Back New York PAC, which spent nearly $800,000 defeating four anti-equality lawmakers and replacing them with stalwart supporters, netting our side three new votes. In a game of numbers, those votes themselves are crucial, but perhaps even more important is the message that we’ve sent to Albany that our community is serious about a win, and that that we will work hard in elections to bring one about.
- Coordination. When we announced New Yorkers United for Marriage just two weeks ago, many people asked how we pulled it off—how we were able to put down organizational differences and come together. Our answer—and the answer of every one of the groups that is engaged: how could we not? The stars are aligned and we have a real shot—not a guarantee, not a slam dunk, but a real, legitimate shot. How could we let anything get in the way of putting our best efforts forward? So we’re working hard to avoid duplication, ramp up the needed work and fundraising, ensure our efforts are complementing one another’s, share credit—all with the all-out focus on bringing about a win now.