Pride Agenda History

23/01/13 13:14

Winning Equality and Justice for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender New Yorkers and Our Families

home | sitemap | contact

Go

About Us Issues Explained Our Programs Donate Take Action Volunteer Press and Publications Fundraising Events Campaigns and Elections

Our Mission and Public Policy Pride Agenda History Accomplishments Staff Directory Board of Directors Employment Join a Pride Agenda Program The Two Components of the Pride Agenda Contact Us

PRIDE AGENDA HISTORY
1990 The Albany-based New York State Gay and Lesbian Lobby and the NYC-based Friends and Advocates for Individual Rights (FAIRPAC) merge to become the Empire State Pride Agenda with offices in Albany and Manhattan. The Pride Agenda defines itself as "a non-partisan not-for-profit organization constituted to work on state and local political issues of concern to the lesbian and gay community, leaving action on a federal level to national groups." Passing a statewide law providing anti-discrimination protections for gay men and lesbians is the organization's top legislative priority. The Pride Agenda works with a group of progressive organizations to help elect Deborah Glick as New York State's first openly lesbian member of the legislature. The Pride Agenda helps build support for New York City Council District 3, a district that encompasses all of Chelsea and most of the West Village that is considered "winnable" by an openly gay or lesbian candidate. First full-time Executive Director: Dick Dadey First Board Co-Chairs: Marc D'Alessio (NYC) and Libby Post (Albany). Events: Night of 100 Parties begun in 1989 by FAIRPAC becomes an annual Pride Agenda fundraising event.

1991 Tom Duane, an openly gay man, is elected to the New York City Council, representing District 3. The Pride Agenda organizes a march on Albany in May, with over 1,000 people from across the state participating. Queer Nation activists burn an effigy of then Senate Republican Majority Leader Ralph Marino (R-C-Nassau) to protest Senate inaction on antidiscrimination protections and hate crimes.

1992 The Pride Agenda organizes the first annual Jim Perry Leadership Institute in Albany, drawing 150 activists from across the state. New Board Co-Chair: Michael Katovitz (NYC). Events: First Fall Dinner in NYC.

1993 The New York State Assembly passes an anti-discrimination bill now known as SONDA, the Sexual Orientation Non-Discrimination Act, for the first time with a vote of 90-50. Assemblymember Deborah Glick and the Pride Agenda play key roles in the Assembly victory. For the first time, the Republican members of the State Senate discuss SONDA in conference. Majority Leader Ralph Marino announces that the conference decided not to

http://www.prideagenda.org/About-Us/Pride-Agenda-History.aspx

Page 1 of 11

Pride Agenda History

23/01/13 13:14
conference. Majority Leader Ralph Marino announces that the conference decided not to bring SONDA to the floor for a vote. Events: First Hamptons Tea Dance.

1994 The Pride Agenda works with a coalition of HIV-organizations to ensure the first ever HIV funding earmarked specifically for gays and lesbians. The Assembly passes SONDA for a second time by a vote of 88 to 56. With GLAAD, the Pride Agenda sponsors an advertising campaign in support of SONDA at stations along the Long Island Railroad to put pressure on a block of Republican State Senators forming the nucleus of the opposition to SONDA in the Senate. Republican members of the State Senate discuss SONDA in conference a second year in a row and decide again not to bring SONDA to the floor for a vote. The Pride Agenda backs openly lesbian Karen Burstein for Attorney General. Ms. Burstein loses narrowly to Dennis Vacco who, through surrogates, wages an overtly anti-gay campaign. Mario Cuomo, also endorsed by the Pride Agenda, loses to George Pataki in his attempt to be re-elected to a third term. New Board Co-Chair: Sue Cowell (Rochester) Events: Governor Cuomo addresses the Third Annual Fall Dinner in NYC.

1995 Attorney General Vacco deletes sexual orientation from a 15-year old anti-discrimination policy in the New York State Department of Law. Ending a year of suspense, Governor Pataki re-issues Governor Cuomo's executive order banning workplace discrimination for state public employees on the basis of sexual orientation. The new contract for state workers preserves domestic partner benefits negotiated in the closing weeks of the Cuomo administration, allaying concerns that Governor Pataki might oppose the benefits. New State Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno declines to extend the benefits to Senate employees, making the Senate the only branch of state government not to offer such benefits. The Assembly passes SONDA a third year in a row and continues to do so year after year for the next six years without any movement or discussion of SONDA in the State Senate. The Pride Agenda forms the Empire State Pride Agenda Foundation, a 501(c)(3) corporation, in order to expand upon the community development and education part of its mission. With the Pride Agenda's assistance, Barbara Kavanaugh becomes the first openly gay or lesbian person elected to municipal office in Buffalo. New Board Co-Chair: Jeff Soref.

1996 The Pride Agenda endorses President Clinton for a second term. It is the organization's first national endorsement. The Pride Agenda lobbies for and achieves the largest ever number of gay and lesbian delegates in the New York Democratic Party Delegation. The Pride Agenda opens an office in Rochester, and ceases full-time staffing of the Albany office. Events: First Annual Ithaca Brunch. U.S. Senator Edward Kennedy addresses the Fifth Annual Fall Dinner in NYC.

1997 State Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno announces his intention to end succession rights for gay and lesbian partners in rent-regulated apartments. The Pride Agenda organizes a series of countermeasures. One month later, Bruno drops his plans to end these rights. Thanks to the Assembly Majority, the FY 1997-98 state budget for the first time ever includes funds ($1 million) specifically targeted to LGBT health and human services for critical non-HIV related programs. Because of the late adoption of the budget, no money

http://www.prideagenda.org/About-Us/Pride-Agenda-History.aspx

Page 2 of 11

Pride Agenda History

23/01/13 13:14
critical non-HIV related programs. Because of the late adoption of the budget, no money is awarded and Governor Pataki fails to include the amount in the FY 1998-99 Executive Budget. Mayor Giuliani makes a written pledge to the Pride Agenda to support passage of comprehensive domestic partner legislation, which has been stalled in the NYC Council by his supporters. The Pride Agenda makes no endorsement in the Ruth Messinger- Rudy Giuliani NYC Mayoral contest, sparking outrage from some segments of the NYC gay community. Guiliani wins overwhelmingly. The Pride Agenda's website is launched. New Executive Director: Matt Foreman. Events: Buffalo holds its first Annual Brunch. Former Texas Governor Ann Richards addresses the Sixth Annual Fall Dinner in NYC.

1998 Newly re-elected Mayor Giuliani proposes a comprehensive domestic partnership bill for New York City employees and residents and works with NYC Council Speaker Peter Vallone to get the bill passed and signed into law. The Assembly Majority includes $2 million for LGBT health and human services in the FY 1998-99 budget, but the line item is vetoed by Governor Pataki. The Pride Agenda leads a statewide campaign targeting the Governor, who relents and makes $1 million available in discretionary funding. This marks the beginning of what becomes an annual funding stream for a network of LGBT health and human service groups across the state that provide essential services for the LGBT community, including youth, seniors and people of color. When incumbent U.S. Senator Alphonse D'Amato fails to use his power within the state GOP to move SONDA in the State Senate, the Pride Agenda endorses Chuck Schumer and mobilizes the gay and lesbian vote. Nearly 80% of the gay vote goes to Schumer, who defeats D'Amato who was endorsed by the Human Rights Campaign. Tom Duane becomes the first openly gay and HIV positive New York State Senator. A victim of hate violence, he is a strong advocate for hate crimes legislation that, like SONDA, has been bottled up in the State Senate for years. The Albany office is re-opened and staffed on a full-time basis. Events: Vice President Al Gore addresses the Seventh Annual Fall Dinner in NYC.

1999 For the first time ever, Governor Pataki calls for passage of a hate crimes law in his annual State-of-the-State message before a joint session of the Legislature. The Pride Agenda backs openly lesbian Christine Quinn in her successful special election race for the NYC 3rd Council District. After a bitter, 18-month struggle, the Westchester County Board of Legislators passes an anti-discrimination bill that includes a ban on discrimination based on sexual orientation. The Pride Agenda invests $40,000 in the campaign to pass the law and plays a leading role in the Westchester Coalition for Human Rights, the coalition that successfully lobbied for the bill. The Assembly Majority includes $2 million for the LGBT Network in the FY 1999-00 budget, which is signed into law by the Governor. Part-time organizers are hired for Buffalo and Long Island and Ithaca. Events: President Bill Clinton addresses the Eighth Annual Fall Dinner in NYC.

2000 Ithaca passes a local hate crimes law that includes protections for transgender people. This is the first transgender-inclusive legislation adopted by any jurisdiction in the state of New York. The Pride Agenda is instrumental in drafting key parts of the law and lobbying for its passage. Eleven years after the Assembly first gives its approval, the State Senate passes a hate crimes bill. The Pride Agenda plays a leading role in the long campaign to pass the bill. When Governor Pataki signs the bill into law on July 10, New York State becomes the 22nd state to pass a hate crimes law which includes crimes motivated by sexual

http://www.prideagenda.org/About-Us/Pride-Agenda-History.aspx

Page 3 of 11

Pride Agenda History

23/01/13 13:14
22nd state to pass a hate crimes law which includes crimes motivated by sexual orientation. This is the first statewide law to explicitly provide protections to lesbians and gay men. Governor Pataki signs the Sexual Assault Reform Act, which formally repeals New York's 150-year old consensual sodomy law. The Buffalo Board of Education unanimously votes to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and to adopt a broad safe schools policy that includes teaching respect for diversity. Nassau County unanimously passes a bill outlawing discrimination based on sexual orientation in employment, housing, and public accommodations. The Pride Agenda plays a leading role in the Nassau Coalition for Human Rights, the coalition that successfully lobbies for the bill. The Conservative Party of NY, a bitter opponent of SONDA and a cross-endorser of Republicans running for local and state offices, suffers its first big loss on gay rights in its Nassau stronghold. The Assembly Majority includes $2.675 million for the LGBT Network in the FY 2000-01 budget, which is signed into laws by the Governor. By the end of the year, 41 organizations are receiving funding from this appropriation. New Board Co-Chair: Kate Gallivan (Buffalo). Events: The first Spring Dinner is held in Rochester. First Lady and U.S. Senate candidate Hillary Clinton addresses the Ninth Annual Fall Dinner in NYC.

2001 State Senate Majority Leader Bruno announces that he will offer domestic partner health benefits to Senate employees. This advance, paired with the 2000 local and state legislative victories in hate crimes, anti-discrimination protections and sodomy repeal, signals a newfound receptivity on gay and lesbian issues by Republicans in New York and raises hopes for the eventual passage of SONDA. SONDA passes the Assembly for the ninth consecutive year and by a new record margin of 113-33. The city of Rochester enacts a law providing anti-discrimination protections based upon sexual orientation and gender identity and expression. This is the first law anywhere in New York State to provide anti-discrimination protections for transgender people. Later in the year, Suffolk County strengthens its anti-discrimination law, putting in place real enforcement mechanisms, and also provides protections for transgender people. The attacks on the World Trade Center occur on September 11. Pride Agenda staff members witness the collapse of the two towers from the group's Hudson Street offices. The office is opened to New Yorkers fleeing on foot from downtown for restroom stops, water and phone calls. The Pride Agenda begins advocating with relief agencies and New York State for equal treatment of same-sex surviving partners and families of 9/11 victims. The 9/11 work the Pride Agenda does in subsequent months shines a national spotlight on the plight of same-sex survivors and families of 9/11 victims and re-ignites a discussion in the press and in policymaking circles across the nation about "family" and "who is family." Governor Pataki delivers his first major address ever to New York's gay and lesbian community at the Pride Agenda's annual fall dinner less than a month after 9/11. Speaking passionately about the lessons of 9/11 and the need to combat hatred and bigotry at home and abroad, he publicly pledges his full support for SONDA. Governor Pataki fulfills a promise he made to the Pride Agenda at its annual fall dinner and issues an executive order granting surviving same-sex partners of 9/11 victims the same benefits spouses receive from the New York State Crime Victims Board. This action becomes the first substantive government policy change in the nation treating same-sex survivors and families equal to all other 9/11 survivors and families. The Pride Agenda helps establish the "September 11 Gay & Lesbian Family Fund" to provide assistance to surviving partners. In response to a meeting initiated by the Pride Agenda, Lambda Legal and the NYC AntiViolence Project, the American Red Cross issues guidelines ensuring equal treatment of partners and children of gay and lesbian 9/11 victims for purposes of disaster assistance. Months later, the Red Cross makes the guidelines permanent across all chapters nationally for all future disasters. New Board Co-Chair: Duffy Palmer (Rochester) New Executive Director: Joe Grabarz Events: Governor George Pataki and Mayor Rudy Giuliani address the Tenth Annual Fall Dinner in NYC.

2002

http://www.prideagenda.org/About-Us/Pride-Agenda-History.aspx

Page 4 of 11

Pride Agenda History
2002

23/01/13 13:14

For the first time ever, Governor Pataki calls for passage of SONDA in his annual Stateof-the-State message before a joint session of the legislature. Empire State Pride Agenda closes field offices as state legislative action increases, deciding to support local LGBT groups from its offices in NYC and Albany. The Assembly passes SONDA for the tenth year in a row, this time by a vote of 113-27. Governor Pataki provides $2.5 million in his executive budget for the LGBT Health and Human Services Network, thereby ensuring a more stable source of funding in years to come. The Assembly responds by providing the Network with another $1.5 million. NYC passes a bill providing anti-discrimination protections for transgender people, making NYC the most populous jurisdiction in the country to do so. The Pride Agenda and the New York Association for Gender Rights Advocacy (NYAGRA) are the lead advocates behind the successful effort. New York State takes a series of legislative and administrative actions so that all 9/11 specific relief is fully inclusive of same-sex survivors and their families. These actions include access to workers compensations survivor benefits, the WTC memorial scholarship program and NYS disaster relief assistance. This is the first time the Legislature addresses the issue of domestic partnership in any context whatsoever. In October, Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno publicly announces that he will end a 31year impasse on SONDA and bring the bill to the floor of the State Senate for a vote during a special session in December. The Pride Agenda endorses Governor George Pataki for reelection, due to his unprecedented use of his office to back the hate crimes law and SONDA, and his efforts during his second term to create bipartisan support on a range of other LGBT issues. The endorsement, the first the organization has made for a Republican running for statewide office, provokes controversy with segments of New York's LGBT community. Governor Pataki is elected to a third term in office by a wide margin. Danny O'Donnell becomes the first openly gay member of the Assembly, joining openly lesbian member Deborah Glick. On December 17, Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno follows through on his promise and passes SONDA by a vote of 34-26. An amendment offered by Senator Tom Duane to include protections for transgender people fails. Governor Pataki signs the bill into law the same day. The historic vote ends a thirteen year campaign by the Pride Agenda, waged on behalf of New York's gay and lesbian community, to pass SONDA. New Board Co-Chair: Dr. Gregory Kerr (NYC) New Executive Director: Matt Foreman Events: Last Night of 100 Parties is held in NYC, ending a fourteen-year run. Mayor Michael Bloomberg and U.S. Presidential candidate Howard Dean address the Eleventh Annual Fall Dinner in NYC.

2003 On January 16, SONDA becomes law in New York State, marked with fireworks over the state's capital. The Pride Agenda re-focuses its legislative priorities, placing a greater emphasis on family issues and winning the legal rights and protections the state provides to all other families through marriage. This is a natural next step after the Pride Agenda's work in 2001 and 2002 on behalf of gay and lesbian families who lost loved ones in the 9/11 attacks and pre-dates the battle on marriage that few people realize is just over the horizon. In April, state legislators introduce the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act, a bill banning discrimination against transgender people in New York. This marks the first time the bill has been introduced in the Assembly. The Pride Agenda Foundation releases a report titled Valuing Our Families: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender New Yorkers, showing that LGBT people in New York State over three decades have been making incremental gains in their quest to win equal legal protections for their relationships and their families. The Pride Agenda launches a new organizing effort called Pride in Action to build support among New Yorkers on issues that are fundamental to winning equality and justice for LGBT people. The program places a priority on reaching out to communities of faith (Pride in the Pulpit), labor (Pride in Our Union) and business (Pride in My Workplace) for support. On June 17, Ontario becomes the first province in Canada to marry same-sex couples. All others eventually follow suit by summer of 2005. With no residency requirements for marriage, Canada becomes the first place same-sex couples from the United States can go to get married and return home with a marriage license. This is the first in a series of developments that will result in marriage becoming the defining issue for the LGBT civil rights movement in America.

http://www.prideagenda.org/About-Us/Pride-Agenda-History.aspx

Page 5 of 11

Pride Agenda History
rights movement in America.

23/01/13 13:14

New York State passes bills that: open state credit unions to domestic partners of members; require colleges and universities to address bias crime on campus; and, eliminate the terms "sodomy" and "deviate sexual intercourse" from all areas of state law. The Pride Agenda is the lead advocate pushing for passage of the first two measures and worked closely with crime victim allies on passage of the third measure. On June 26, the U.S. Supreme Court in a historic 6-3 decision on sodomy overturns the remaining state laws criminalizing private behavior that are used to target people for persecution for no other reason than their sexual orientation. In September, the New York State Democratic Committee unanimously passes a resolution supporting the right of same-sex couples to marry. The Pride Agenda works closely with Democratic Committee members to craft a resolution that will pass. The New York City Council holds its first hearing on the Equal Benefits Bill in November. The Pride Agenda works with Council supporters to turn out a broad base of advocates for the legislation and build momentum for its passage. On November 18, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court rules that it is unconstitutional to ban same-sex marriage, which will result in Massachusetts becoming the first state to marry same-sex couples. New Executive Director: Alan Van Capelle Events: Victory is held in the re-built Work Financial Center Winter Garden to celebrate the passage of SONDA. The first Sprung! is held in NYC. U.S. Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton and Governor George Pataki address the Twelfth Annual Fall Dinner.

2004 In his State of the Union address, President Bush threatens to use the Constitution as a weapon to withhold basic rights and responsibilities from LGBT people by supporting passage of an amendment banning marriage for same-sex couples. In February, the New York State Department of Labor agrees to policy changes that will recognize same-sex relationships in determining eligibility for unemployment insurance. Working with Governor Pataki's office, the Pride Agenda plays a key role in this victory that is in response to a case brought by the ACLU. San Francisco begins issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples on February 12. Thousands of couples from all over America travel to San Francisco to get married before the California courts stop the city's action. On February 24 in a press conference, President Bush declares his support for passage of an amendment to the U.S. Constitution banning marriage for same-sex couples. This marks the beginning of a campaign by Republicans to use marriage as a wedge issue in the Presidential race and in the political life of the country. Jason West, Mayor of New Paltz, solemnizes marriage of same-sex couples, moving the national spotlight on marriage from California to New York. Spontaneous marriage actions and rallies talk place in New York City as the LGBT community expresses its frustration at being denied the right to marry. The Pride Agenda holds a series of town meetings on marriage across New York State with local LGBT organizations and activists to provide the LGBT community the information and resources it needs to build support in local communities for marriage. New York State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer issues an opinion saying that state law does not authorize the issuance of licenses to same-sex couples, but that this raises important constitutional questions involving equal protection that must be decided by the courts. Same-sex couples across the state immediately file lawsuits to resolve these questions. The AG also states that, under state law, marriages of same-sex couples performed in jurisdictions outside the state should be treated like all other marriages in New York. This opens the door to couples getting married elsewhere and coming home to ask for equal treatment and recognition of their marriages. The Pride Agenda works with municipalities and state agencies to have them affirm the AG's position on out-of-state marriages. Buffalo, Rochester, Nyack and Brighton agree to treat marriages of same-sex couples the same as other marriages in the provision of city services. In April, the Pride Agenda releases the first statewide poll on marriage, showing that New Yorkers are almost equally divided on allowing same-sex couples to marry but overwhelmingly favor them having the rights and responsibilities government provides through marriage. The NYC Council overwhelmingly approves the Equal Benefits Bill in May by a vote of 43-5 and then comes back in June and overrides a veto by Mayor Michael Bloomberg by a vote of 41-4. The Federal Marriage Amendment dies in the U.S. Senate in July. While this means the end of efforts to pass the amendment in 2004, it accomplishes the objective of further

http://www.prideagenda.org/About-Us/Pride-Agenda-History.aspx

Page 6 of 11

Pride Agenda History

23/01/13 13:14
end of efforts to pass the amendment in 2004, it accomplishes the objective of further invigorating the Republican conservative base in an election year. Bucking a growing trend nationwide of legislating against LGBT families, New York State passes a bill providing hospital visitation privileges to same-sex partners. This is the first state legislation to actually use the term "domestic partner" and include a definition of that term. Pressure builds on the State Senate to pass a Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). The Pride Agenda works with local LGBT organizations and activists across the state to pressure Senators not to act. The State Senate adjourns for the year without voting on the measure, keeping New York State as one of only eleven states without such a law. The Pride Agenda works with New York State Comptroller Alan Hevesi to have the state's retirement system, the second largest in the nation, say it will treat Canadian marriages of same-sex couples the same as other marriages in the area of retirement benefits. Weeks later, Mayor Bloomberg has NYC's five pension funds, with 600,000 plus members, do the same. President Bush is narrowly re-elected to a second term in one of the most divisive races in the nation's history. Events: The first Equality @ Work Awards Luncheon is held in NYC.

2005 Pride in the Pulpit, the Pride Agenda's organizing campaign with communities of faith, grows to over 400 clergy and laypeople across the state representing more than 20 denominations. It provides a religious perspective on the need for LGBT equality when the religious right in NY speaks out against LGBT people. In February, a lower court in Manhattan finds it is unconstitutional to deny same-sex couples marriage licenses and orders NYC to begin issuing licenses. Mayor Bloomberg appeals the ruling, refusing to issue licenses based upon a lower court's decision. He also states his support for New York State legalizing marriage for same-sex couples, becoming the first Republican elected official in New York State and one of the few in the nation to do so. In a letter to the Pride Agenda, the Bloomberg Administration announces it will treat marriages of same-sex couples performed out-of-state the same as other marriages in those areas where marital status is a factor in the city's provision of services and the rights and responsibilities it provides city residents. The Pride Agenda's second statewide poll of marriage for same-sex couples shows that support has increased over the past year, with 51% of New Yorkers supporting marriage and 42% opposing. The Pride Agenda's LGBT Equality & Justice Day draws almost 500 LGBT New Yorkers and allies to Albany to talk to legislators about LGBT issues. Clergy and laypeople with Pride in the Pulpit start the day off with a prayer services. The New York State Legislature extends control of remains authority to include same-sex surviving partners. This becomes the first time in state law our relationships are given priority over blood relatives. New Board Co-Chair: Will Trinkle (NYC)

2006 Members of the New York City Council overwhelmingly choose Christine Quinn as Council Speaker, making her one of the most prominent openly-lesbian elected officials in the country. The Pride Agenda's third statewide poll of marriage for same-sex couples shows that support has increased again, with 53% of New Yorkers supporting marriage and 38% opposing. What was an almost even split in opinion two years ago has now become a 15 point margin in favor of marriage for same-sex couples. The Pride Agenda's LGBT Equality & Justice Day draws almost 600 LGBT New Yorkers and allies to Albany to talk to legislators about LGBT issues. On May 30, the evening before the New York State Court of Appeals holds oral argument on the right of same-sex couples to marry, the Pride Agenda holds six community gatherings across the state in houses of worship to send a message to New York that all families deserve the freedom to marry. Over 1000 LGBT New Yorkers and allies in the faith, labor and choice communities attend. The Pride Agenda endorses Eliot Spitzer for governor, citing his support for: marriage equality for LGBT families; banning discrimination against transgender people; combating bias-based harassment of LGBT youth in schools; and, funding programs that address the

http://www.prideagenda.org/About-Us/Pride-Agenda-History.aspx

Page 7 of 11

Pride Agenda History

23/01/13 13:14
bias-based harassment of LGBT youth in schools; and, funding programs that address the long-standing health and human services needs of the LGBT community. On July 6, New York State’s Court of Appeals found no Constitutional mandate to provide same-sex couples access to marriage. The decision came after more than two years of litigation, community education and organizing around the issue. The Pride Agenda mobilized thousands to turn out at seven rallies across the state hours after the decision was made public to officially begin the campaign to pass a marriage equality bill in the legislature. Events: Pride Agenda endorsed candidate for governor Eliot Spitzer. U.S. Senator Russ Feingold and NYC Council Speaker Christine Quinn address the Fall Dinner in NYC.

2007 The NYS LGBT Health and Human Services Network receives a record $8.0 million through the Governor’s Executive Budget and from the Assembly to provide vital services to New York’s underserved LGBT community. This figure is more than double the amount the Network has ever received from the state in a single year. The Pride Agenda plays a critical role in a nationally-watched Special Election for the State Senate, which results in a victory for the Pride Agenda endorsed candidate Craig Johnson. Johnson becomes the first pro-marriage equality State Senator from Long Island. Governor Spitzer makes front page news across the country when he becomes the first Governor in the nation to introduce a marriage equality bill. The Pride Agenda breaks the news about the bill’s introduction on April 27, just a few days before the organization’s annual Equality & Justice Day in Albany. Building on the momentum of last year’s post Court of Appeals marriage decision rallies across the state demanding legislative action on marriage and the Governor’s introduction of a marriage bill, more than 1,000 New Yorkers travel to Albany for the Pride Agenda’s biggest ever Equality & Justice Day. The Pride Agenda and the New York City Bar Association release a report showing that there are 1,324 New York state statutes and regulations that confer a right or duty on married individuals in New York State. The report is regularly cited in newspaper articles and editorials as proof of why access to marriage for same-sex couples is a critical part of being treated equally in America. The Pride Agenda’s organizing program Pride in Our Union wins support of labor unions representing 1,000,000 New Yorkers for marriage equality and 320,000 New Yorkers for the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA). Winning labor support for marriage equality and GENDA forces labor-backed state legislators to begin re-examining their views on the political liabilities they believe are associated with supporting LGBT issues. Less than one year after New York’s high court said the legislature must decide whether same-sex couples can have access to marriage, the New York State Assembly passes marriage equality legislation by a vote of 85-61. The vote makes New York the second state in the country to have a legislative chamber pass a marriage bill. The New York State Democratic Committee unanimously passes a resolution in October supporting the enactment of a statewide law outlawing discrimination based upon gender identity and expression (GENDA).

New Board Co-Chair: Kim Kakerbeck (NYC)

2008 The Pride Agenda’s Equality & Justice Day achieves a new attendance record of over 1,200 people traveling to Albany to lobby state legislators on key LGBT issues. Meetings are held with 175 of the 212 legislators in the Assembly and Senate. Governor Paterson instructs all state agencies to begin respecting legal out-of-state marriage of same-sex couples in regards to the 1,324 state-based rights and responsibilities that flow through those agencies. This decision by the Governor is the culmination of four years of step-by-step work by the Pride Agenda and Lambda Legal to have municipalities, state agencies and private employers affirm the NYS Attorney General’s 2004 position that out-of-state marriages should be treated like all other marriages in regards to the provision of benefits and services. The Pride Agenda conducts one of the first-ever state-based polls in the nation on transgender issues, which reveals that 78% of New Yorkers favor a law protecting transgender people from discrimination. Three months later, the NYS Assembly passes the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA) for the first time by a vote of

http://www.prideagenda.org/About-Us/Pride-Agenda-History.aspx

Page 8 of 11

Pride Agenda History

23/01/13 13:14
the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA) for the first time by a vote of 108-34. Five years of concerted efforts by the LGBT community to educate New Yorkers and legislators about the need for the legislation lays the groundwork for this victory in the Assembly. The Pride Agenda’s organizing program Pride in Our Union succeeds in having the NYS AFL-CIO, representing 2.1 million working New Yorkers, unanimously pass resolutions calling upon the NYS Legislature to pass bills that provide marriage equality for same-sex couples, ban discrimination against transgender people and combat bullying and harassment of LGBT youth in public schools. This victory occurs after two years of unionby-union education work with rank-and-file members on the three issues and is a major milestone in the Pride Agenda’s work to expand support for LGBT issues outside of the LGBT community. Barack Obama is elected President, putting an end to eight years of anti-LGBT policies by the Executive Branch. In New York State, every Democrat and Republican Assemblymember who voted for marriage equality (2007) and GENDA (2008) wins in November, demonstrating again that voters do not penalize elected officials who support equality for LGBT people. Two anti-LGBT State Senators are defeated, shifting control of the State Senate to the Democrats for the first time in decades. New Board Co-Chair: Frank Selvaggi (Westchester County) Events: Governor David Paterson addresses the Fall Dinner in NYC.

2009 Governor Paterson selects Kirsten Gillibrand to fill the U.S. Senate seat formerly held by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The Pride Agenda speaks to Gillibrand the night before her nomination about her positions on marriage equality, the Defense of Marriage Act and a range of other important LGBT issues, playing an important role in the Governor’s final deliberations before he names Gillibrand to the seat. After years of work by the Pride Agenda and the LGBT community, Senator Schumer announces his support for marriage equality and a full repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act. Schumer becomes the highest ranking member of the U.S. Congress to support marriage equality. As part of its campaign to push for a vote on marriage equality in the State Senate, the Pride Agenda begins releasing a series of reports and video clips aimed at neutralizing the distortions and lies it knows will be interjected into the campaign by opponents of marriage equality. The Pride Agenda’s report and video clip “Marriage Equality and Religion: The Massachusetts Experience” is widely circulated online by activists and groups countering the favorite myth spread by opponents that marriage for same-sex couples jeopardizes religious freedom. Over the course of the spring, Iowa, Vermont, Maine (later repealed by ballot initiative) and New Hampshire legalize marriage for same-sex couples, helping build great enthusiasm among grassroots supporters in New York State working to put pressure on the State Senate to do the same. A record-breaking 2,000 people converge on Albany from across the state to take part in the Pride Agenda’s annual Equality & Justice Day where they lobby legislators to pass bills to legalize marriage for same-sex couples, outlaw discrimination against transgender people (GENDA) and combat bias-based bullying in schools (Dignity). $9.128 million in state funds is provided for the 2009-2010 fiscal year for LGBT non-HIV health and human services programs through Governor Paterson’s Executive Budget, the Assembly Majority and Senate Majority. The NYS Assembly passes marriage equality, GENDA and Dignity legislation all in the same year for the first time ever, adding to the pressure on the State Senate to take action before the end of session in June. In May, the Pride Agenda releases it first-ever television ad campaign calling on the State Senate to pass the marriage bill. The ad campaign depicts real New York families who are hurt when same-sex couples are not allowed to marry. The campaign runs for five weeks. The Pride Agenda releases the first-ever report assessing the LGBT health and human services needs in New York State. A shocking development takes New York State by surprise: a leadership coup occurs on June 8 in the State Senate, bringing all business to a halt. The Pride Agenda calls upon the State Senate to go back to work and pass critical LGBT legislation. After five weeks of paralysis, the State Senate comes to agreement on its leadership and leaves for the summer in order to continue efforts to heal the political rift between members. Governor Paterson states his intention to convene the Senate in the fall to vote on the marriage equality bill. Hate crimes legislation passes the U.S. Senate in October clearing the way for the bill to

http://www.prideagenda.org/About-Us/Pride-Agenda-History.aspx

Page 9 of 11

Pride Agenda History

23/01/13 13:14
go to President Obama for his signature. It becomes the first piece of LGBT legislation ever signed into law on the federal level. After the Pride Agenda and the LGBT community apply a tremendous amount of pressure, the State Senate Leadership agrees on November 11 to vote on marriage equality legislation before the end of the year. On December 2, the morning of the vote on marriage equality, Senate Democrats fall short of the votes they need from members in their Conference to pass the bill. When this happens, Senate Republicans decide not to provide votes they have on their side as they will not be enough to pass the bill. The two sides disengage and the marriage equality bill fails 38-24. Governor Paterson signs an Executive Order prohibiting discrimination against transgender employees working for New York State. This comes after three years of the Pride Agenda’s work with the Governor’s office, both David Paterson and his predecessor Eliot Spitzer. New Board Co-Chair: Mitch Karsch (NYC) replaces Kim Kakerbeck Governor David Paterson and U.S. Senator Charles Schumer address the Fall Dinner.

2010 The New York State Legislature passes a bill providing medical decision-making authority to same-sex partners. The New York State Department of Health (DOH) expands sources of funding for LGBT health and human services by mandating that the needs of LGBT New Yorkers must now be considered in all funding decisions being made through the DOH’s Center for Community Health. The New York State Assembly votes by an overwhelming bipartisan margin to pass the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act for the third year in a row. José Peralta wins special election for State Senate and becomes a representative for the 13th Senate District in Queens. The Dignity for All Students Act passes the New York State Legislature and is later signed by Governor Paterson, marking the first time gender identity and expression appear in state law. During the 2009-2010 Legislative Session, the Pride Agenda helps pass other pro-LGBT bills granting medical decision making, bereavement leave, adoption rights and services for LGBT seniors. The Pride Agenda also helps maintain funding for the community’s needs through its LGBT Health and Human Services Network. The Pride Agenda endorses Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo for the office of governor, citing his commitment to fighting for civil rights, ending discrimination, and achieving true equality for all New Yorkers. The endorsement comes after Cuomo’s appearance at the Pride Agenda Fall Dinner, where he reiterates his support for marriage equality. The Pride Agenda invests time and resources heavily in the elections, helping add two new voices for marriage equality to the State Senate. Future Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos announces that he will allow a marriage equality bill to be brought to a vote in the State Senate. Ross Levi is named new Executive Director in May Claire Buffie, 1st Miss America contestant to make LGBT equality a platform, honored at Fall Dinner, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand gives keynote address. 2011 The New York State Senate joins the Assembly in passing marriage equality. Governor Cuomo immediately signs the bill into law. The New York State Assembly votes by an overwhelming margin with bipartisan support to pass the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act for the fourth year in a row. On July 24, after years of waiting, loving committed same-sex couples begin to marry in New York State. New Board Co-Chairs: Louis Bradbury and Marla Hassner Governor Andrew Cuomo honored at 20th Annual Fall Dinner; David Boies gives keynote address. 2012 Lynn Faria assumes responsibility as interim executive director of the Pride Agenda following Ross Levi's departure from the organization. After a nationwide search conducted by the Board of Directors, Nathan Schaefer steps into the role of executive director in October.

http://www.prideagenda.org/About-Us/Pride-Agenda-History.aspx

Page 10 of 11

Pride Agenda History
director in October.

23/01/13 13:14

With bipartisan support, the New York State Assembly passes the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act for the fifth year in a row by a wide margin. The Dignity for All Students Act, which protects students from harassment based on traits such as race, religion, ethnicity, sex, gender identity and expression, physical and mental ability and sexual orientation goes into effect on July 1. With the help of the Pride Agenda, Dignity is extended to include protections against cyberbullying. Judith Light honored at Fall Dinner; Governor Deval Patrick of Massachusetts gives keynote address.

donate

about

employment

sponsors

sitemap

links

privacy

home

contact

© Empire State Pride Agenda 16 West 22nd Street, New York, NY 10010 This is the website of the Empire State Pride Agenda, Inc. and the Empire State Pride Agenda Foundation, Inc. Click here to learn more about the distinction between these two organizations.

http://www.prideagenda.org/About-Us/Pride-Agenda-History.aspx

Page 11 of 11