Not to be outdone by the competing evangelical-inspired, anti-gay marriage protest, thousands more attended a pro-gay marriage rally near Times Square. Gov. David A. Paterson—whose marriage bill just passed the Assembly—headlined the rally and was joined by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and a number of celebrities including Sex and the City star Cynthia Nixon who announced her engagement.
The governor told the cheering crowd: "My name is David Paterson and I came here today seeking justice. Let New York lead the country in making the dreams and wishes come true for people who want to get married.”
The New York Times reports: "Paterson did not initially plan to attend. His last-minute appearance, which came just a few hours after thousands of same-sex marriage opponents held a much larger demonstration outside the governor’s Midtown Manhattan office, underscored the high stakes at issue in the Senate vote. 'We’re in a race right now in New York,' the governor told [the] crowd. 'The time for justice, the time for equality, the time for equal rights can never be any more urgent than right now.' "
There are only 18 days remaining in the Senate's legislative session. Paterson's marriage equality bill passed the Assembly 89 - 52 but its success in the Senate is uncertain. Senate Majority Leader Malcolm Smith will not bring the bill to the floor for a vote unless it has the 32 votes it needs to pass. At the latest count, Smith is up to six votes short, reports the Daily News.
Among the many speakers: Newly engaged Sex In The City star Cynthia Nixon flashing the diamond engagement ring given to her by fiancée Christine Marinoni, Assemblyman Danny O'Donnell, State Sen. Tom Duane and Empire State Pride Agenda executive director Alan Van Cappelle. The cast of Hair performed two numbers and Broadway hunk Cheyenne Jackson sang. Tony Award winner Audra McDonald rocked the crowd with her performance of "Some Days," the poem by iconic black gay writer James Baldwin and set to music by Steve Marzullo
Cheyenne Jackson and Audra McDonald photos via Flickr user Cybermelli.
AFTER THE JUMP, watch Audra McDonald explain why marriage equality is important to her and sings "Some Days" by James Baldwin. Also watch the cast of Hair perform the fabulous "Aquarius."