As legislatures begin convening around the country, marriage equality was front and center today in the two of the three states on the brink of enacting equal marriage.

Today in his State of the State address, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo reiterated his call for marriage equality in the Empire State.  The newly inaugurated governor said, “Make New York the progressive capital of the country.  If you believe in social justice, then let’s pass marriage equality in New York.”

With Governor Cuomo in office, marriage equality could soon be reality in New York.  HRC’s work around the state resulted in important victories on November 2 and a net pick up of two pro-equality votes in the state Senate.  With the possibility of marriage equality looming, New York is one of HRC’s priority states in 2011.

HRC’s Brian Ellner was at Governor Cuomo’s State of the State Address and has been on the ground in New York heading our Campaign for New York Marriage.  He reported:

“It was inspiring today hearing Cuomo pledge to once again make New York the progressive capital of the nation and achieve the social progress that made the State famous.  This statement from one of our most stalwart allies sends a clear signal and gives us momentum as we move into the legislative fight.”

Marriage equality is also a possibility in two other East Coast states.  In Rhode Island, Governor Lincoln Chaffee today mentioned the marriage bill in his inaugural address saying, “I urge the General Assembly to quickly consider and adopt this legislation. When marriage equality is the law in Rhode Island, we honor our forefathers who risked their lives and fortune in the pursuit of human equality. Rhode Island today must be as welcoming to all as [the state’s founder] Roger Williams intended it to be.”

In Maryland, several pro-equality lawmakers were elected November 2, increasing the chances of a marriage equality bill.  Governor Martin O’Malley has said publically that he would sign the bill if it makes it to his desk.

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