Young Adults Bring Marriage Equality Discussion to New York Lawmakers’ Neighborhoods

Mixed Reaction From State Politicians

For Immediate Release
Contact: Haven Herrin, Soulforce Q Co-Director
Cell: 469-867-5725

(Albany, NY) — From Niagara Falls to Long Island, Finger Lakes to Adirondack Mountains, communities across New York State are considering the future of family values, due to Governor Eliot Spitzer’s bill to grant marriage to same-sex couples and the NY State Assembly’s passage of that legislation.

On July 14th, a group of young adults from New York and across the country will gather in Albany before embarking on a journey to speak with state legislators and their constituencies about marriage equality. The initiative, known as the Right to Marry campaign, will bypass the state capitol and engage directly with the communities that inform the positions of the elected officials.

"We are going to have a conversation across New York State about creating a world in which two people who make lifelong commitment to each other can rest assured that their family will be protected and prosper," says Jake Reitan, one of the co-directors of the campaign.

Forty young adults will traverse the state in four distinct routes over two weeks. The groups plan to meet with Assemblymen and women to discuss their June 2007 vote on marriage equality and with state Senators to learn about the future of similar legislation in the Senate. Senator Thomas Duane (D-Manhattan) sponsored a bill similar to the Assembly legislation (S.5884), but the bill did not come up for a vote during this session.

Some legislators, like Teresa Sayward (R- Glens Falls), are already on board as allies. On the other hand, the office of Senator Tom Libous (R) in Binghamton told campaign organizers not to waste their time as there is nothing that can change his mind.

Aside from appointments in home districts, the Right to Marry young adults will volunteer with local organizations, host potlucks and picnics, participate in County Fairs, and attend religious services. Sunday, July 22nd, has been designated as the Right to Marry Townhall Sunday with events scheduled to take place in Niagara Falls, Canton, New Paltz, and New York City. For more information, visit

The campaign is coordinated by Soulforce Q in collaboration with the ACT OUT student organization from Vassar College and is endorsed by the Empire State Pride Agenda. "This is a necessary exercise in making democracy work at all levels, from Congress to neighborhoods, as young adults continue to the push for marriage equality across the country, not just in the vanguard states like New York and California. The future of our families cannot and will not to be decided without our consent," says Haven Herrin, another Right to Marry co-director.

Soulforce Q is the young adult division of Soulforce, a social justice organization that works to end political and religious oppression of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people through relentless nonviolent resistance.