-Use City Contracting Power for Civil Rights Issues?
For decades, the city government has its enormous financial power to move social agendas. In the 1980s, the city used its pensions to force corporations to divest from South Africa to protest Apartheid.
This year, the City Council passed an Equal Benefits Law, which requires contractors that offer benefits to spouses of their employees to extend the same package to domestic partners of workers. Mayor Michael Bloomberg vetoed the measure.
Gay marriage has also become a key civil rights issue in the campaign. While marriage is legally a state issue, in February, a Manhattan Supreme Court Justice ruled that the city should not discriminate against same-sex couples. She ordered the city clerk to begin issuing marriage licenses to gay couples. Mayor Michael Bloomberg appealed the ruling.
Fernando Ferrer supports the use of city contracts to advance social agendas. “Whether it’sâ€¦ the extension of domestic partnership rights to those you do business with the city, or the rights of the transgendered - for me it fits into the same category,” Ferrer said at a forum earlier this year. “You cannot believe in some human rights and not all.”
Ferrer said he also supports gay marriage.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg has supported using the city’s contracting power to advance social agendas in certain cases, but he vetoed the City Council's Equal Benefits Law, which requires contractors that offer benefits to the spouses of their employees to extend the same package to the domestic partners of workers.
Bloomberg says that he while personally supports gay marriage, it is a state issue.
Last year, Bloomberg appealed the Manhattan Supreme Court ruling to begin issuing marriage licenses. He told the New York Times in February, “I do not want to see happen here what happened in California,” where gay marriages were authorized by Mayor Gavin Newsom and overturned by the state court.
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