The Honorable Michelle C. Berry, Alderperson/City Councilperson
City of Ithaca
"I believe that the right to marry for all citizens, regardless of gender, is one of our largest civil and human rights battles. As a bi woman married to a man, I am certainly and often painfully aware of the privileges bestowed upon male-female partners who have united in marriage. Research indicates that denying equal rights to same-sex couples causes harm in many ways, perhaps the most potent being the damage done to psychological well-being for couples and their families. Granting the privilege of marriage to same-sex couples is what we'd expect and must demand from a progressive state such as ours."
Marshall Blake, President
Central New York Area Labor Federation
Executive Vice President
Service Employees International Union (SEIU) 1199Upstate
“Union members and the labor movement have a long history of supporting equal rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) workers. We know that the denial of marriage equality hurts not just these families but all the family members, neighbors and co-workers who care about the well-being of these couples and their children. We will resist any attempt by anti-worker forces to use this issue in elections this year or beyond to divide working people in order to elect candidates with proven track records of favoring corporate special interests at the expense of working families.”
Excerpted from “Union Resolution for Marriage Equality” passed by Executive Board of the Central New York Area Labor Federation
Rev. Roko Sherry Chayat
Abbot, Zen Center of Syracuse
"I support the Marriage Equality campaign in New York State (and elsewhere). Couples, whether heterosexual or same sex, who are in loving, mature, and committed relationships, should have the right to formalize those relationships through legal marriage, and take on all the responsibilities and privileges accorded by law."
The Reverend Thomas A. Clemow: Pastor, First United Methodist Church
"I support the right for same-sex couples to marry in New York State. It is discriminatory and demeaning to deny to same-sex couples the opportunity to participate fully in all the societal benefits which heterosexual couples immediately acquire upon their marriage. Love, fidelity and the capacity to enter into a covenental relationship are gender-blind. We impoverish this state by not recognizing the legitimacy of all relations founded upon love, mutual respect, and commitment."
Rabbi Rachel Esserman:
"I support the right for same-sex couples to be legally married in New York State. My religious tradition demands that we pursue justice, that we allow for the equality of all. The civil authority must recognize this and allow these couple their legal rights under the law."
Rev. Margaret A. Hart
Minister, First Universalist Society of Central Square, NY, a Unitarian Universalist congregation
"I support the right for same-sex couples to marry in New York State. I don't understand why they shouldn't be allowed to. Marriage, to me, is a sacrament and a covenant between two people who love each other. It is also a legal binding of two people together with the ensuing rights and responsibilities of that union. Believing in the inherent worth and dignity of all people, I believe that all should be allowed to marry."
County Legislator Michael Koplinka-Loehr:
Tompkins County Legislature, District 11
“I support the right for same-sex couples to be legally married in New York State. I look forward to the day when the right to marry (along with all of the benefits and responsibilities thereof) becomes available to and commonplace for ALL citizens in our state.”
Councilperson Patricia Leary:
Ithaca Town Board
“Marriage has long been recognized as a stabilizing force in society and a right of full citizenship. It serves both the principle of equal rights and the broader common good that the state recognize the validity of marriage between committed parties regardless of gender.”
County Legislator Kathy Luz Herrera:
Tompkins County Legislature, District 5
“As a Latino lesbian from Texas, I recall the history of the shameful "anti-miscegenation" laws of the not-so-distant past as I compare this struggle to the ongoing fight for racial equality in this country. We know that marriage promotes social stability. At its root, this is simply an issue of fairness. I support marriage equality, and urge you to do the same.
Rabbi Linda Motzkin & Rabbi Jonathan Rubenstein: Temple Sinai
Saratoga Springs, NY
"In a world torn by violence and hatred, loving relationships have a role in bringing about healing in society. We believe that people in same-sex relationships who choose to publicly and formally affirm their love and commitment should have the right to do so, and that these unions should be authorized and supported in civil society as well as in religious community."
The Rev. J. Andrew McTyre
Pastor / Head of Staff
Park Central Presbyterian Church
Syracuse, New York
"I support same-sex marriage because I am a Christian. Marriage is a civil contract, and human rights demand that it should be available to any two adults who choose to enter into such an agreement. To deny any human rights to a particular group of people because of skin color, gender, economic status or sexual orientation is to ignore our faith's injunction to do justice, love kindness and walk humbly with our God."
Mayor Carolyn K. Peterson:
City of Ithaca
“Two years ago I worked closely with members of our lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community to craft a response to the exciting "wave" sweeping the country from San Francisco to Long Island regarding same sex marriages. As mayor of a community that in 2005 was selected as "One of America's Fabulous Gay-Friendly Places to Live" it was important to me to make a statement. Ithaca took an interesting position and we hope to see successful results in the New York courts or legislature some day. Why? To me it is very basic: two individuals wish to commit their lives to each other. They deserve the protections and benefits, as loving partners in our society, as others who currently can do so legally.”
Alderperson Shane M. Seger:
Ithaca Common Council, 1st Ward
“I support marriage equality in New York State. As a member of Ithaca’s Common Council, I am a marriage official. Of course the irony is that as a gay man, I am now able to marry opposite-sex couples but am unable to be married. It saddens me that so many of my friends and acquaintances in long-term same-sex relationships cannot ask me to perform marriages for them.
I am proud to live in a community which has a Mayor who has made a strong statement in favor of marriage equality and in which 25 local couples are suing the state to challenge marriage law. I will be prouder still, when New York grants gay and lesbian couples full marriage equality.
The Rev. Craig Schaub, Plymouth Congregational Church, United Church of Christ
"Last night I awoke in the night, checked on my little daughter, rolled back into bed next to my wife, and was overcome by a sense of deep gratitude for my marriage and the opportunity to be a dad, and even the legal privileges that come with those experiences. In the midst of my gratitude, I suddenly also felt a deep mourning. That mourning comes from the realization that not all committed life partners are afforded the same legal privileges. In spite of the fact that my church offers same-sex couples an opportunity to celebrate their commitment in a sacred service, seek a divine blessing for their relationship, and seek spiritual support in community, we are still, by virtue of being agents of the state in many marriages, complicit participants in what amounts to a social and spiritual apartheid. I pledge to help stop it."
District Attorney Gwen Wilkinson:
“If our society is going to identify a human relationship to receive the exclusive benefit of state sanction and other advantages -both economic and social- then we must insist that identical recognition be offered to same sex couples. To do anything less is to accept the absurd premise that gay relationships are unequal.”