You'd have to have your head in the sand not to know that we have a big problem of marriage inequality here in New York State. The majority of New York State residents support the legalization of same-sex marriage. The New York State Assembly has passed a law legalizing same-sex marriage. The New York Senate was about to pass such a law, until two Democrats, motivated by extreme bigotry to block the legislation, started caucusing with the Republicans. New York State government has been thrown into chaos because the anti-equality minority cannot stand the idea of gays and lesbians being given constitutionally-guaranteed equality under the law.
Here in the 24th congressional district, we have a lot of same-sex couples that are struggling under the current regime of inequality. In these economic hard times, it's especially troubling to see people suffering without health care and other benefits that they're entitled to get.
I don't know what it's like up in Utica, but in the southern part of the district, we've all got many friends and neighbors who are same-sex couples, living together as families, often with children. These people aren't a threat to anyone's heterosexual marriage. They aren't seeking special benefits. They're hard-working citizens who are only looking to be treated the same as everyone else.
But what will their representative in Congress, Mike Arcuri, do for them? Not a thing. Arcuri has neither introduced nor cosponsored any legislation to provide marriage equality to same-sex couples. As our state is brought to a standstill, Congressman Arcuri is completely inactive. Search Arcuri's congressional web site, and you'll see that he hasn't bothered to issue a press release, or make a little speech.
The LGBT residents of New York's 24th congressional district cannot depend upon Michael Arcuri to represent them in Washington D.C. For that matter, the many heterosexual allies who want equal rights for their LGBT friends and neighbors can't count upon Arcuri for representation either.
Where Representative Arcuri is lacking, the Green Party is not. The Green Party stands explicitly and forcefully in support of marriage equality, and full legal equality for homosexual Americans. The Green Party platform reads, "We support the recognition of equal rights of persons gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender to housing, jobs, civil marriage, medical benefits, child custody, and in all areas of life provided to all other citizens."
Where Arcuri refuses to act to protect the legal rights of his district's residents, a Green Party representative in Congress would not. For that reason, I'm hoping that 24th district voters have the opportunity to vote for a Green Party candidate in the 2010 congressional election.