There are two bits of potentially positive news on the legislative front in my home state of New York, one pertaining to violence against abortion providers and one pertaining to same-sex marriage.
- NY State Assemblyman Sam Hoyt is introducing a bill that would mete out “harsher punishments for people who try to interfere with an abortion by committing acts of violence against doctors, clinical staff, volunteers, or patients. Such acts that result in physical injury would be elevated from misdemeanor crimes to felonies.” New York would be the first state to enact this if the bill is carried through. Standing with Hoyt when the bill was announced was Lynne Slepian, whose husband Dr. Barnett Slepian was shot to death eleven years ago by an anti-choicer.
- The accidental Governor, David Paterson, has been staggeringly ineffective in his fifteen months in office but has made a verbal commitment to marriage equality that he might now be pushing into action. Yesterday he flip-flopped, first saying that same-sex marriage would not be on the agenda of an upcoming emergency session of the legislature and then saying that it would be considered. Governor Paterson has a long record of supporting the LGBT community (he’s slated to be the grand marshal of the Gay Pride Parade in New York City next week), but it remains to be seen if there will be any legislation passed or if he’ll need to be far more vocal. The problem is that Paterson has practically zero clout, so his support might not influence the issue at all. Regardless, it’s time for my state to get on the ball and join Iowa and company in granting marriage equality.