, NY 10007
EMBARGOED UNTIL DELIVERY
MAYOR BLOOMBERG DELIVERS MAJOR ADDRESS ON URGENT NEED FOR MARRIAGE EQUALITY
The following are Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s remarks as prepared for delivery at the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art. Please check against delivery.
“I want to thank Rachel and our hosts here at The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art.“I think it’s fair to say that no institute of higher learning has had a more profound impact onthe course of American history than Cooper Union. By opening the doors of its Great Hall toAbraham Lincoln, Frederick Douglass, Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and so manyother pioneering leaders, and by hosting the founding of the NAACP, Cooper Union has helped push American freedom ever higher, and ever wider.“Today, we gather in this innovative and striking new academic building – a symbol of howCooper Union has always looked forward and always championed progress. We gather – in thetradition of those who came before us – to discuss a momentous question before our nation and our great State of New York: Should government permit men and women of the same sex to marry?“It is a question that cuts to the core of who we are as a country – and as a city. It is aquestion that deserves to be answered here in New York – which was the birthplace of the gayrights movement, more than 40 years ago. And it is a question that requires us to step back from the platitudes and partisanship of the everyday political debate and consider the principles that mustlead us forward.“The principles that have guided our nation since its founding – freedom, liberty, equality – are the principles that have animated generations of Americans to expand opportunity to an ever wider circle of our citizenry. At our founding, African-Americans were held in bondage. Catholicsin New York could not hold office. Those without property could not vote. Women could not voteor hold office. And homosexuality was, in some places, a crime punishable by death.“One by one, over many long years, the legal prohibitions to freedom and equality wereovercome: Some on the battlefield, some at the State House and some in the courthouse.