Wednesday, March 12, 2008

LGBT organizations weigh in on Spitzer

With New York appearing to take a collective sigh of relief over Gov. Eliot Spitzer's resignation earlier today, LGBT organizations have echoed many in the state in expressing their optimism to work with incoming Gov. David Paterson.

Empire State Pride Agenda executive director Alan Van Capelle praised the former state Senator's record on LGBT rights as he pointed out Paterson's support of hate crimes legislation and the Sexual Orientation Non-Discrimination Act of 2002.

"David Paterson’s leadership is a story of commitment to civil liberties and human rights," Van Capelle said in a statement posted on the Pride Agenda's Web site. "He believes in equality and justice for all New Yorkers and has demonstrated this time and time again—in both words and actions."

Matt Foreman, executive director of the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force, agreed.

"We know we can count on him to continue his decades-long commitment to winning full equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender New Yorkers," he said.

Paterson supports marriage for same-sex couples at a time when activists across the state have looked to a Democratic take-over of the Republican controlled state Senate in November in hopes of securing passage of a marriage bill next year. It remains to be seen whether this effort will succeed, but it appears as though LGBT activists have followed the apparent lead of state Democrats in their efforts to quickly move forward from this tumultuous period. In many ways, it appears as though they want Spitzer to become an after thought with upcoming local, statewide and national elections. He became a significant distraction in the coming days (and arguably since he took office in January 2007), and partisans (and arguably some LGBT activists in New York and around the country) are quietly happy to see him go.

The saga will continue to evolve, but the collective consensus is arguably to begin to move forward. Stay tuned...

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