Gov. Paterson: Make Room for Same-Sex Married Couples

By Jonathan Adams May 29, 2008

Governor David Paterson, the nation’s third Black governor since Reconstruction, has directed all New York state agencies to begin to revise their policies and regulations to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other jurisdictions, like Massachusetts, California and Canada. Paterson seems to agree with the other Black governor, Deval Patrick, whose state, Massachusetts, was the first state in the United States to allow same-sex couples to obtain marriage licenses. Patrick praised the recent decision in California:

"Our experience in Massachusetts has taught us that whenever we affirm the right of people to come before their government as equals, we all win," Patrick said. "I congratulate the California court for upholding that principle."

The National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC) recently released a report that finds that Black people "are virtually the only constituency in the country that has not become more supportive over the last dozen years, falling from a high of 65 percent support for gay rights in 1996 to only 40 percent in 2004." As young people take a more progressive stance on gay marriage, the way the generation before them embraced interracial marriage, we are in a much better position to address the basic human rights of all people. While only one percent of Black people, according to a BET poll, considered same-sex marriage a top priority, about half of those polled named the economy. I hope that the Governors’ positions on marriage will lead to even stronger stances on those things more greatly affecting all of us.