Labor supports marriage equality bill in New York

Leaders of seven New York labor organizations on Wednesday joined Empire State Pride Agenda executive director Rose Levi at an Albany press conference to urge state law makers to pass the Marriage Equality Act.

“This is a defining civil rights issue of our time,” said Danny Donahue, president of the Civil Service Employees Association, AFSCME Local 1000. “We are announcing our support of the Marriage Equality Act in hopes that it will encourage state lawmakers to search their consciences and do what is right to approve this legislation.”

The Marriage Equality Act introduced on May 11 by Rep. Daniel O’Donnell would extend marriage rights to same-sex couples. Similar bills have passed the state Assembly in recent years only to be stalled in the Senate before they could become law.

In addition to CSEA, leaders of the New York State United Teachers, the Public Employees Federation, SEIU, Bricklayers Local 2, the Capital District Area (Albany) AFL-CIO, the Capital Area Labor Council for Latin American Advancement were on hand to show their support for passage of the bill.

“On behalf of the 120,000 union members and their families here in the Capital District that we represent as a federation, we today strongly urge the members of the New York state Legislature to do the right thing — as we are — and adopt the Marriage Equality Act now,” said Mary Sullivan, the president of the Capital District Area Labor Federation.

More than 50 New York labor organizations have thrown their support behind the bill including CWA, Teamsters, United Federation of Teachers (New York City), and the state AFL-CIO.

“Marriage cannot be seen as just an issue for the LGBT community,” Stuart Appelbaum, president of RDSWU told Celeste Katz of the New York Post in April. “It is a union issue as well, as demonstrated by the support that has been shown by New York’s labor movement. And most importantly it is an issue of importance for anybody who cares about justice. Justice is indivisible. You cannot be for justice for some, and not be for justice for all.”

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