Governor Cuomo makes touching speech in support of the freedom to marry

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo made a passionate speech at a dinner for the Empire State Pride Agenda on Thursday evening to encourage other states and elected officials to follow in New York’s footsteps and support the freedom to marry.

At the gala for the Pride Agenda (which is the largest LGBT advocacy organization in New York State), Cuomo spoke about the need to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act, the law that prevents the government from recognizing legally married gay and lesbian couples and denies them federal benefits such as Social Security, medical leave, and hospital visitation rights. He individually praised the four Republican Senators whose votes were critical to the legislation’s passage in New York. The New York Times called the language in the speech “his most forceful terms to date,” and stated that there was a clear shift beyond the state of New York, “in a way he has not done before.” Cuomo was introduced by City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, who said that the governor’s election “made all the difference in the world.” The dinner took place in New York City, where Cuomo was given a leadership award from the Pride Agenda and received a standing ovation for more than a minute from the 1,200 guests in attendance.

Governor Cuomo was an outspoken proponent of New York’s Marriage Equality Act in the months before it was passed in the state legislature on June 24, 2011. The victory in New York was historic in many ways including that it was the first time that a Republican-led chamber passed marriage legislation, and the new law more than doubled the number of Americans living in a state with the freedom to marry.

Click here to learn about the work Freedom to Marry is doing alongside Governor Cuomo’s advocacy to repeal DOMA as quickly as possible.