Marriage support from an unexpected source

Vice President Dick Cheney

One former Dallas resident not usually known for his liberal positions is lobbying legislators in Maryland to support marriage equality.

The Baltimore Sun reports that Dick Cheney — yes, that Dick Cheney, the former Vice President — is lending his support to passage of a bill sponsored by Democratic Gov. Martin O’Malley. The Cheneys now live in Maryland.

Cheney’s daughter is lesbian, and he has always supported her and her relationship with partner Heather Poe. But by taking a position in favor of marriage equality he’s taking a position more liberal than that of Presidents Barack Obama or Bill Clinton. Clinton signed the Defense of Marriage Act that allows states to not recognize marriage performed by other states.

Also lobbying Maryland lawmakers is New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who worked for passage of the New York state law last year.

In other marriage news, marriage equality passed the New Jersey Assembly and was forwarded to Gov. Chris Christie, who promptly vetoed it. Supporters have until the end of the legislative session in January 2014 to override.

—  David Taffet

More on marriage in New York

Same-sex couples in New York were allowed to start applying for marriage licenses on Wednesday, July 6.

But those who applied for a license on the first day in New York City had to decide who was going to be the bride and who was going to be the groom. Mayor Michael Bloomberg had the forms corrected overnight, according to ABC News.

The forms now read: “Bride/Groom/Spouse A” and “Bride/Groom/Spouse B.”

On July 24, Bloomberg will preside over the wedding of two of his aides — John Feinblatt, his chief policy adviser, and Jonathan Mintz, the commissioner for consumer affairs. Feinblatt and Mintz have been together 14 years and have two young daughters. The wedding will be at Gracie Mansion, the official mayor’s residence, according to the New York Times.

Elsewhere in the city, the Bishop Nicholas DiMarzioof of Brooklyn banned lawmakers who voted for marriage equality from Catholic churches and schools. He called the law that allows more people to get married, “another nail in the coffin of marriage.”

The bishop said no gifts from those lawmakers would be accepted and reportedly returned a $50 check sent by one legislator in honor of a student.

New York City tourism officials, on the other hand, are rolling out a new I Love NY campaign dubbed NYC I DO with hotel and wedding packages. They expect to add $142 million to the city economy and another $40 million to the rest of the state.

Tax officials say that couples with a joint income of $65,000 or less will pay less in state income tax. Couples with higher incomes may pay more.

Those who marry and work in New York will be able to get health insurance through their employers, if their employers don’t already provide coverage.

According to the Empire State Pride Agenda, New York has 1,324 state-offered rights and responsibilities that go with marriage — including the right to divorce and receive alimony.

The first day for marriage equality in New York is a Sunday and many state judges will be on hand to perform ceremonies and waive the state’s 24-hour waiting period between when a license is issued and when a wedding can be performed.

If any of our readers are planning to go to New York to get married this summer, let us know. We’d love to hear about your plans.

—  David Taffet

NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg visits Albany to rally the troops in support of marriage equality

Mayor Michael Bloomberg

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg was in Albany on Thursday discussing marriage equality with Republican senators, according to the Albany Times Union.

Bloomberg told the Albany newspaper that he was willing to back his support for marriage equality with political contributions to Republicans who supported the measure. He said he believes that marriage equality is important to keep New York City competitive. (We wonder if the next Dallas mayor would ever do anything like this.)

On Wednesday night the Assembly passed the marriage equality bill, the fourth time they have done so. But the Senate remains one vote short. Passage in the New York Senate takes 32 votes. So far 29 Democrats and two Republicans said they would vote for the bill. The one remaining Democrat will vote against the bill. Another three or four Republicans have indicated that they are open to supporting equality.

Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos said more discussion is needed on the issue, which equality opponents see as positive. Only one more day is scheduled for the state Senate before adjournment for the year on Monday, June 20, although they may go to extended or special session.

The hate group National Organization for Marriage has threatened to run primary challengers against any Republican who votes for equality. Polls in New York have been consistent showing 58 percent of New Yorkers favor equality.

If the bill passes in New York, the number of people living in states that allow marriage equality will more than double.

Sen. Diane Savino, a Democrat from Staten Island whose impassioned speech in favor of equality went viral on Youtube in the last session, posted a message on her office door.

“Bigots and homophobes please put your literature here,” it said, with an arrow pointing to a garbage bin on the floor.

Among the most ironic anti-equality lobbyists in Albany is Bill Banuchi. Banuchi is a marriage counselor. Is he trying to tell us something?

—  David Taffet