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Mayoral Issue Grid: Civil Rights

by Gotham Gazette Staff, Aug 15, 2005
 


Mayoral Issue Grid

CIVIL RIGHTS

-Use City Contracting Power for Civil Rights Issues?
-Gay Marriage?

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

Fernando Ferrer supports the use of city contracts to advance social agendas. “Whether it’s… 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.

C. Virginia Fields

C. Virginia Fields supports the use of city contracts to advance social agendas.

“I am for marriage equality,” Fields said at a recent forum. “I am for the Dignity for All Students Act. I am for adoption rights for LGBT parents as well as the repeal of “Don’t Ask; Don’t Tell” because it doesn’t work. I am for the protection of transgendered people.”

A. Gifford Miller

As Speaker of the City Council, Miller helped draft and 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 bill.

Miller also supports gay marriage and, if elected, promises to issue marriage licenses.

“I have been for gay marriage since I ran for office for the first time in January of 1996,” Miller said. “The right choice is to issue those marriage licenses, to stand up and say, ‘The equal protection laws of the State of New York applies to LGBT New Yorkers,’ and I, as mayor - if you choose me, if I’m so fortunate to be elected - will issue those marriage licenses immediately, because it’s the right thing to do.”

Anthony Weiner

Anthony Weiner supports the use of city contracts to advance social agendas.

Weiner also supports gay marriage. “I have a history of fighting for civil rights for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered New Yorkers,” Weiner said at a forum. “When I was running for Congress in 1998, long before the issue of gay marriage was particularly hot, and at that time civil unions was the big issue being contested, I endorsed gay marriage.”

Michael Bloomberg

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.

RELATED ARTICLES:
- Civil Rights Issues Divide Bloomberg and Democratic Rivals
- Bully Busting
- Democratic Mayoral Candidate Forum: Gay and Lesbian Issues
- Lagging Behind In The Fight For Gay Rights
- Can Critical Mass Negotiate a Truce?

 


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