The New York Civil Liberties Union today applauded Governor Paterson’s leadership in introducing legislation to make marriage between lesbian and gay New Yorkers legal in New York State, and called on state legislators to quickly pass the bill.

“Governor Paterson supported marriage fairness long before it became popular, and his leadership on this issue must once again be applauded,” NYCLU Executive Director Donna Lieberman said. “Now it’s time for the State Senate to join the governor and Assembly in supporting fairness, a core American value.”

In 2007, a marriage bill passed in the State Assembly by a vote of 85-61. Every single Assemblymember who voted for marriage — Democrat and Republican — won reelection last November.

In 2008, the NYCLU achieved a landmark legal victory when a state appellate court unanimously ruled in Martinez v. County of Monroe that New York State must recognize the valid out-of-state marriages of lesbian and gay couples. Following that victory, Paterson directed all state agencies to follow the law and revise their policies to recognize marriages of same-sex couples performed in other jurisdictions.

“Momentum is clearly on the side of justice and fairness,” Lieberman said. “New Yorkers should not have to cross state lines to protect their families. It’s time for the Senate to follow the Assembly’s lead and do the right thing and stand up for all of New York’s families.”