It is with both heartfelt congratulations and a heavy heart that SDWNY thanks former NYS Assemblymember Sam Hoyt for his career of service, upon his recent resignation from the NYS Assembly. Sam has been the fiercest longtime advocate the LGBTQ community has had in WNY. This year, we celebrated the passage of the Marriage Equality Act, and it was in such a large part due to the tireless advocacy of Assemblymember Hoyt throughout the years. Like his father the late Assemblymember William Hoyt was before him, Sam Hoyt has represented every woman, man and child in his district to the absolute best of his ability.
“Throughout the years, Sam Hoyt has been an intergral part of the Stonewall Democrats of Western New York,” said Bryan Ball, Stonewall Democrats of Western New York President. “Together, we worked on advocacy for marriage equality, transgender civil rights and all LGBTQ civil rights. Along with his incredible staff and team, we have worked side by side to advance pro-equality legislation, and elect incredible pro-equality, progressive officials. We are proud to have been a part of the progressive vision and legacy Sam Hoyt lived for the 144th Assembly district for the past nearly twenty years.”
Stonewall Democrats of Western New York wishes former Assemblymember Hoyt all the best in his new endeavor with Governor Cuomo’s administration in the Empire State Development Corporation.
SDWNY is thrilled that our Vice-President of Community Affairs Kitty Lambert and her partner, Cheryle Rudd, may become the very first legal New York State same-gender marriage later this month. Congratulations, Kitty and Cheryle!“The Buffalo News: “Gay wedding in Falls may be state’s first”
Early July 24, with hundreds, if not thousands, of people on hand, Kitty Lambert and Cheryle Rudd will stand next to Niagara Falls in hopes of becoming the first gay couple married in New York State.
“Prince William and Kate didn’t have as many people at their wedding as we will,” Lambert, one of the region’s most prominent gay rights activists, said Tuesday. “It’s going to be amazing. We’ve joked that we’re inviting 1,800 of our closest friends.”
And yes, Lambert and Rudd promise to be the first couple legally married under the state’s historic marriage equality law, which takes effect that day.
And what a party they have planned.
The celebration will start with a reception on Goat Island at 7 p.m. July 23 and end with a civil marriage ceremony on Luna Island shortly after midnight. Niagara Falls Mayor Paul A. Dyster will officiate.
“Everyone is invited,” Lambert said. “We’re doing this because of what it will do for Western New York, and media is coming from all over the world to see it.”
For Rudd, the wedding marks the end of a more-than-eight-year wait.
“I’m thrilled,” she said. “We’re finally getting the same rights as everyone else. Nobody can take that away from us anymore.”
Lambert and Rudd are not the only ones with out-of-the-ordinary wedding stories.
Rick Crogan, head of the Main Street Business & Professional Association in Niagara Falls, finds himself in the unusual position of having to choose between politicians competing to officiate at his upcoming wedding. He said both politicians — Niagara Falls City Judges Diane L. Vitello and Angelo J. Morinello—believe strongly in the rights of gays to marry.
“They’re both arguing over who’s going to do it,” he said. “It got to the point where Judge Vitello’s mother grabbed my cheeks and said, ‘You have to let Diane do it.’ ”
Buffalo’s Unitarian Universalist Church is going out of its way to publicize its elation over the new law and its eagerness to marry gay couples once it takes effect.
“We’re going to throw the doors open,” said the Rev. Joel Miller. “These are people we’ve been taking care of for a long time, so its nice to see the state finally doing that, too.”
Miller said the church has hosted about 50 gay weddings since he arrived there 11 years ago and would love to see each of those couples return now that their marriages are recognized by the state.
For Lambert and Rudd, the new law marks the end of a struggle that often tested their personal relationship.
And for those who know them, it’s more than appropriate that they will be among the first, if not the first, to wed under New York’s new law.
As president of OUTspoken for Equality, a local gay rights group, Lambert was instrumental is getting the State Legislature to allow gays to marry.
“There’s a certain justice to that,” Dyster said of the wedding. “And I’m honored that she thought of Niagara Falls and agreed to shine the spotlight on Niagara Falls.”
To pave the way for the big event, Lambert persuaded a local municipal clerk to be on hand to sign their marriage license after midnight and a local State Supreme Court judge to waive the normal 24-hour waiting period, which will put them a day ahead of most couples.
She also called on former Assemblyman Sam Hoyt, a Buffalo Democrat and longtime friend, for help in securing Goat Island for the party.
“There may be other weddings that day,” Hoyt said, “but I don’t think there will be another wedding as well-attended or as happy and enthusiastic as this one.”
As she often does these days, Lambert is quick to mention the people who made her big day come to be, and State Sen. Mark Grisanti is often at the top of her very long list.
Grisanti, a Buffalo Republican, cast one of the deciding votes in the law’s passage.
“I’m happy for them,” he said Tuesday. “It’s important that they can finally realize that they count and that they matter to New York State.”
Lambert said the wedding is open to the public and suggested the guest list will include a fair number of VIPs. She stopped short of naming names, but when asked about reports that comedian Ellen De- Generes might come, she confirmed the possibility.
“All I can tell you is that she was invited,” Lambert said. “Wow, wouldn’t that be something if she came.”
It is with tremendous joy that Stonewall Democrats of Western New York celebrates the passage of the Marriage Equality Act by the NYS Legislature. At long last, New York will cease to segregate civil marriage rights based on gender. Families throughout our state today have been validated by our government, and given the civil rights once denied them. When same-gender marriages begin in New York, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning and queer (LGBTQ) New Yorkers will have access to the state rights that come with a civil marriage.
We commend our Governor Andrew Cuomo for his soaring leadership on this issue. Gov. Cuomo made good on his promise of bringing marriage equality to our great state, and without his non-partisan leadership, we would not have this great victory today.
I thank—from the bottom of my heart—SDWNY Vice-President of Community Affairs and Outspoken for Equality President Kitty Lambert for her powerhouse leadership on Marriage Equality. For the last several years, Kitty and her partner Cheryl Rudd have worked their lives for this issue. Kitty Lambert has been the voice of the Marriage Equality movement in WNY, and all fair-minded New Yorkers will forever be grateful for her role in Marriage Equality’s passage.
New York State could not have gained this victory for the civil rights movement without the ceaseless work and unfailing dedication of our Stonewall Democrats of Western New York members, allies and incredible community of local, grassroots advocates. It is because of each letter you signed or delivered, each phone call you made, each lobby visit you attended and each neighbor you talked about equality that we now have Marriage Equality in NYS. Thank you to the many SDWNY members and activists who have, throughout the years, worked so passionately for this issue. We thank Carol Speser, community leader and co-founder of SDWNY, for her astounding leadership and advocacy for Marriage Equality. We thank SDWNY Vice-President for Political Affairs Bruce Kogan for his heart and endless drive to work for equality. We thank SDWNY Secretary Thomas Peglowski and Treasurer Ronald Groth. We thank James Bragg, Rita Sanchez, Paul Morgan, Mark Nowak, Jamestown City Council President Gregg Rabb, Ari Moore, Thomas Gleed, Madeline Davis, Wendy Smiley, Andrew Randazzo, Terry Purdue, Edwin Martinez, Douglas Charles, Sean Cooney, Cynthia Appleton, Christopher Sasiadek, Michael James, Gail Wojtowicz, former NYS Sen. Antoine Thompson, Timothy Maggio, Melissa Breckenridge and Jennifer Diagostino, among many, many others.
SDWNY extends a special commendation to NYS Assemblymember Sam Hoyt. Throughout his career in the Assembly, Sam Hoyt has fiercely championed the civil rights of LGBTQ New Yorkers. Always, Sam Hoyt has stood with the LGBTQ community. Marriage Equality is now law in NY because of his great work and advocacy.
We also proudly extend our utmost gratitude to NYS Senator Timothy Kennedy. A pro-equality voice where previously we’d had none, Sen. Kennedy has proven to be among the most-staunch supporters of LGBTQ rights in the state legislature. As Andrew Cuomo did with his own election, Sen. Kennedy has made good on his promise of Marriage Equality, and SDWNY could not be more proud.
We also extend our immense gratitude to Senator Mark Grisanti. With his vote in favor of Marriage Equality, Sen. Grisanti displayed a true profile in courage by standing up for what is right. Throughout our lobbying and working with Sen. Grisanti, he has proven himself to be a man of great wisdom and heart—a Republican willing to listen to the needs of our community, open to learning and, in the end, champion the cause of civil rights. Our state and country would be a much better place if we had more heroic legislators like Sen. Mark Grisanti.
And we thank our WNY pro-equality Democratic legislators who helped pass Marriage Equality with their votes and advocacy—Assemblymembers Crystal People-Stokes and Mark Schroeder.
We thank all our outstanding pro-equality elected officials: Congress members Rep. Higgins, Hochul and Slaughter; Erie County Legislators Majority Leader Maria Whyte and Lynn Marinelli; Buffalo Common Councilmembers David Rivera, Michael LoCurto and Michael Kearns. And we thank the Erie County Democratic Committee for their support—Chairman Len Lenihan, Executive Director Jeremy Zellner and Melissa Bochenski, as well as the Erie County Young Democrats.
It is with this great happiness that we look to the next chapter of our involvement in the civil rights movement: the passage of the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act. We remain saddened that our state has not extended protections from discrimination to our transgender sisters and brothers, and has not outlawed discrimination—for employment, for housing—based on an individual’s real or perceived gender identity and expression. We celebrate the victory of Marriage Equality today, and look forward to the day when every single LGBTQ American is afforded all her or his equal, civil rights.
Today, Gov. Cuomo continued to make good on his promise of passing Marriage Equality for New York State, by introducing the Marriage Equality Act to the NYS Senate and Assembly (READ the bill here.)
Yesterday, Sens. Carl Kruger, Joseph Addabbo and Shirley Huntley announced their support for civil rights, bringing the entire Senate Democratic conference to support equality, with only one exception. And in the last 24 hours, two Senate Republicans have announced their support of the bill. We commend Sens. Jim Alesi and Roy McDonald for having the courage to be the first of their Republican conference to take a stand for civil rights.
Now is the time to keep acting! We need to keep the pressure on Albany to pass the bill and make Marriage Equality law. Today, WNY Sen. Mark Grisanti (R-Buffalo) announced he was now undecided, rather than opposed. After months of lobbying by SDWNY, Outspoken for Equality and local open and affirming clergy, Sen. Grisanti is now undecided. Call him now at 716-854-8705 and let him know the true, incredible support civil marriage rights have in his district!
Sen. Pat Gallivan (R-Elma) has been another one of SDWNY and Outspoken’s focuses during the past several months. He also needs to keep hearing the incredible support Marriage Equality has in his district! Call him now at 716-656-8544!
We have never been closer to Marriage Equality! We would not be here if it were not for the hard, dedicated work of you and all our Stonewall Democrats.
If Sen. Tim Kennedy (D-Buffalo) is your senator, call him at 716-826-2683 and thank him for the support he has for Marriage Equality becoming law!
Also, please remember to thank our pro-equality Assemblymembers who have championed Marriage Equality, such as Assemblymember Sam Hoyt (D-Buffalo) 716-885-9630 at and Assemblymember Mark Schroeder (D-Buffalo) at 716-826-0152.
Today also brought fantastic news for the GENDA legislation, as the bill passed the Assembly once again. Please, in your phone calls for Marriage, thank the Assembly for passing GENDA and urge the Senate to follow suit!
Photo: Bryan Ball, Artist of piece: Kitty Lambert
Come show your pride and celebrate Buffalo Pride this weekend with the Stonewall Democrats of WNY. We will be marching, with Outspoken for Equality, in the Pride Parade and Dyke March, and will be having our Pride Raising Rally for LGBTQ civil rights this Saturday. Join SDWNY as we rally on Saturday with our community, allies and pro-equality elected officials such as Assemblymember Sam Hoyt and Sen. Tim Kennedy for Marriage and GENDA in NYS—and join us again on Sunday as we march in the parade to show our pride!
Friday, June 3
· Madeline Davis GLBT Archives will have a show at the Karpeles Museum at Elmwood and North (not the one near D’Youville). The opening is Friday, June 3, 7-9 and SDWNY member Madeline will be in attendance. People can browse items from the museum collection as well. The show is being put on by the Museum Dept. at Buffalo State College.
Saturday, June 4
· Pride Raising Rally: At 2PM on Saturday, June 4, in Niagara Square in front of Buffalo City Hall and Sen. Mark Grisanti’s (R) Buffalo office, we will be showing our pride in our community by rallying for our civil rights. Join Stonewall and Outspoken for Equality as we rally with our community, allies and elected officials in support of Marriage Equality Gender Expression Non-Discrimination—and call on our State Legislature to pass Equality. Among our scheduled speakers, we will be joined by NYS Assemblymember Sam Hoyt and NYS Senator Tim Kennedy. We will be rallying to show all of WNY’s elected officials the tremendous support that exists in Buffalo and WNY for Marriage Equality and GENDA! You can also RSVP on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/event.php?eid=153341324734082
- 10th Annual Dyke March - Come out and march in the Dyke March! Participants are asked to line up at 4 PM at Belmont Housing, located at 1195 Main St - by Main & Dodge. Step-off will be at 5 PM, and the march will travel down Summer Street and end at the Allen Street Festival, between Franklin and Pearl on Allen. For more information on this or the Festival, visit the Pride Center's website: http://www.pridecenterwny.org/site/
- Pride Raising Exhibit - El Museo Gallery (91 Allen St, Buffalo) is having a Pride Raising Exhibit to commemorate the first outdoor Pride Celebration in Buffalo and a long history of Pride and Politics in our city. We will have buttons, banners, miscellaneous memorabilia and the original proclamation for Buffalo's first outdoor Pride celebration in 1991, donated by Stonewall co-founder Carol Speser. The gallery will be open from 6 to 9 PM.
- Boy Toys - After the festival you can see one of our own, the handsome Randy Strokes, as he performs at Adonia's bar (Allen close to Main) at 10:30 PM. In fact, you won't want to miss any of these kings and queens. Come show some appreciation for LGBTQ performance artists from Buffalo and Rochester!
Sunday, June 5th
- Pride Parade! - We want you to march with us! Stonewall Democrats and Outspoken for Equality are marching together, and we will all be wearing Marriage Equality New York t-shirts in different colors to show off our rainbow. The parade is traveling from Lafayette and Elmwood down to Chippewa and Delaware, and line-up is at 11 AM. Step-off will be at 1 PM. If you would like to march, e-mail email@example.com with your T-shirt size and meet us at Lafayette and Elmwood. We're not sure yet if we will have a float due to budget constraints, but if you would like to help with that you can contact Kitty at the email above. Every bit will help so that ALL of our members can march. Can't wait to see you all there!
Wednesday, June 15
· Femme Finale - Reading by Madeline Davis: Madeline will be reading from her newly completed Memoir, Femme Finale, at 7:30pm on Wed, June 15 at The Screening Room, 3131 Sheridan Drive . It is at the eastern end of the little mall behind Northtown Plaza and used to house the offices of the DMV.
Tuesday, June 21st
- Summer Solstice Celebration of Spirit in Honor of Gay Pride: The traditional solstice to celebrate Pride Month will be held at 7 PM at Temple Beth Zion, 805 Delaware Ave. It will be an affirming night centered on community and calling on clergy to preach love and end bullying from their pulpits. The Keynote Speaker is Buffalo Councilmember Darius Pridgen, and the event is hosted by Rainbow Spirit Rising. All, from all faiths, are welcome!
January 05, 2011
Dear Stonewall Democrat, As our year draws to a close with the signing of the “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell Repeal Act of 2010,” by President Obama, which will effectively end our military’s discriminatory prohibition of gays and lesbians serving openly, the Stonewall Democrats of Western New York reflect on a year filled with many historic and hard fought victories on the path to equality. With your continued support, we look forward to continuing our work together in the year ahead. After the New York State Senate’s 2009 defeat of the Marriage Equality bill, our Stonewall Democrats began 2010 with the goal of attaining the equality from our government that had previously been denied to us. This spring, SDWNY worked with the City of Buffalo’s Common Council to pass domestic partnership legislation. After years of lobbying the Buffalo law-making body, SDWNY members testified in front of the council and personally lobbied our lawmakers on the importance of domestic partner legislation. The result was a victory directly attributed to each and every one of you who worked this issue. Because of you, the City of Buffalo has established a city domestic partner registry, and passed legislation which extends domestic partner benefits to all city employees in same-gender domestic partnerships. This year also saw the long-over due passage of the Dignity for All Students Act. This bill was made a reality by the hard work and dedication of our Stonewall members, and by our representatives Assemblymember Sam Hoyt and Senator Antoine Thompson. Because of this act’s passage, all our New York children will be justly protected from bullying in schools. In 2010, SDWNY also participated in Marriage Equality New York’s Lobby Day, when again we directly lobbied our state legislators on the needs of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning community. Always, we have been there to educate our legislators. This election cycle brought us the chance to show at the voting booth the power of our pink votes, and what it means to support or not support our families. WNY sent a strong message with the election of Senator Tim Kennedy, our new representative in the 58th Senate District, who will be a pro-equality vote for GENDA and Marriage where we before had a no vote. Equality saw additional Stonewall victories in the past elections with the reelection of Assemblymember Hoyt, one of the LGBTQ community’s fiercest advocates in Albany, the election of our Governor Andrew Cuomo, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, and all three of our endorsed New York State Supreme Court Candidates: Judges Eugene Fahey, Hank Nowak and Catherine Nugent-Panepinto. However, with our great victories came unfortunate defeats. We thank, from the bottom of our hearts, our pro-equality, progressive champion Senator Antoine Thompson for his great service to Western New York. SDWNY promises to hold the new Senator accountable for his actions, as we will the Senate’s new Republican leadership. The last year also brought incredible opportunities for SDWNY. This summer, we were honored to have our Stonewall Democrats chapter represented at two national conferences in Washington, D.C. We traveled to the Democratic National Committee’s Day of Pride and the National Stonewall Democrats conference, and met with activists, representatives from other nation-wide Stonewall chapters, and Congressional and White House staffers on issues of bettering our individual chapters, and working with our Congress to pass our legislative priorities. At the Erie County Democratic Committee’s reorganizational meeting this fall, I personally had the opportunity to address about 1,500 Erie County Democratic Committee members on the work of SDWNY, our pro-equality issues, legislation and candidates. This election saw our community increase our representation on the Erie County Democratic Committee, which is a hugely important way to work and advocate for our pro-equality legislators and candidates. As we begin 2011, I look forward to continuing our great and productive work together as Stonewall Democrats. Our organization as we stand now could not be the force we are without the involvement, activism and support of each and every one of our members. I am proud that our membership has increased in terms of numbers and activism this past year, and anticipate our organization to only grow stronger as we work to achieve the goals of the civil rights movement: Gender Expression Non-Discrimination and Marriage Equality in New York State, and Employment Non-Discrimination and the Uniting American Families Act at the federal level. Without you, the Stonewall Democrats of Western New York would not be what we are. I thank you for your support and involvement, and look forward to working together in the year to come. Sincerely,
Bryan BallPresidentStonewall Democrats of Western New York
Click here to renew your membership or become a SDWNY member today!
This Tuesday, Western New York voters went to the polls. Stonewall Democrats of Western New York is thrilled with many of the results. Pro-equality champion Assemblymember Hoyt was reelected to represent the voters of Buffalo and Grand Island in the Assembly. And with a tremendous victory, Tim Kennedy was elected our next Senator in the 58th Senate District. In the Senate, Tim Kennedy will be a pro-equality vote and advocate, taking the place of anti-equality Sen. Bill Stachowski. We congratulate Senator-elect Kennedy on his hard fought win, and look forward to a long, productive working relationship with our new voice in the State Senate.
In other victories, SDWNY saw all three of our endorsed New York State Supreme Court candidates-- Catherine Nugent-Panepinto, Judge Eugene Fahey and Judge Hank Nowak-- elected and reelect to the State Supreme Court.
Tuesday did not come without disappointments, however. Stonewall Democrats of Western New York congratulates Cynthia Appleton on her noble and courageous pro-equality campaign for the 59 Senate District. We were proud to stand with Cynthia in her campaign to bring the change so desperately needed to the 59 district. We commend her for her for fighting the fight for what is right, and we look forward to working with this amazing public servant in the future.
We also deeply thank and congratulate Robin Wilt for her dignified and unalterable pro-equality campaign to restore a representative supportive of civil rights to the 56 district. Robin Wilt ran a phenomenal campaign for that which is right, and the Stonewall Democrats were thrilled to have supported her. Robin Wilt will continue to be a much needed progressive voice in Western New York, and we look forward to continuing our great work with her.
Tuesday also dealt the progressive community a great uncertainty, with the race for the 60 State Senate District. Pro-equality champion Senator Antoine Thompson's race with anti-LGBT Republican candidate Mark Grisanti remains to close to call, with an intense and likely lengthy recount process soon to begin. The Stonewall Democrats of Western New York hold the faith, and are confident that when all the votes have been counted, we will return our great advocate in Sen. Thompson to represent us in the State Senate.
Dear Stonewall Democrat, Soon, this election season will be over. We will have a new Governor, a new Attorney General, new justices and in many districts new State legislators. If we elect our pro-equality Stonewall endorsed candidates for these elected offices, we will have Marriage Equality and the Gender Non-Discrimination Act passed in New York State. It is as simple as that. Over the last year, GENDA and Marriage Equality failed in the State Senate. When Andrew Cuomo is our governor, and the state legislature has a Democratic pro-equality majority, those failures will not be repeated. In order to keep the Senate, and win equality, we need to come through for our supporters at the voting booth. With the Democratic majority in the Senate currently so thin, we cannot afford to lose our pivotal Western New York races. After today, I will have a new State Senator, and that State Senator will be Stonewall Candidate Tim Kennedy. In Tim Kennedy, we will have a new vote for equality in the seat formerly held by Senator Bill Stachowski, one of the eight Democrats who denied us Marriage Equality last December. Tim Kennedy will be a yes vote for marriage, a yes vote for GENDA and he will champion our cause. His opponent, Albany incumbent Jack Quinn III, is anti-equality, and has already had experience voting in Albany to deny the LGBT community our rights in the Assembly. It is crucial that we elect Tim Kennedy our next state senator in the 58th District. Please, do all you can to help elect a new pro-equality Senator from Western New York. If you can volunteer your time today, call Tim Kennedy’s field office at 716-818-5076 to find out how you can canvass doors, phone bank and work polls to elect Tim Kennedy our Senator from the 58th District. We have the same opportunity in the 59th Senate District. Stonewall Candidate Cynthia Appleton is running to succeed Senator Dale Volker—who while many claim to have been a good man, was never a good man to the LGBT community. Cynthia Appleton is a true progressive. Cynthia is an accomplished public servant, a proud and strong advocate for justice and equality—and she will restore integrity to the office of the 59th District. A true community leader, Cynthia Appleton has a strong record of accomplishment, and the right commitment to the reform we so need in Albany. A vocal champion of Marriage Equality and GENDA, Cynthia Appleton is exactly the kind of strong progressive we need to change Albany. Please, do all you can to help elect this new champion of the LGBT community as state senator. Call Chris Sasiadek at 716-997-0504 to find out how you can work today to make this victory a reality. In the 56th Senate District, we have yet another vital opportunity. Robin Wilt is a phenomenal voice who will bring a desperately needed fresh perspective to Albany. A co-founder of the Genesee Valley chapter of Progressive Democrats of America, Robin Wilt will be the needed progressive voice to replace anti-equality Sen. Joseph Robach in the State Senate. Robin Wilt has championed LGBT-rights issues throughout her campaign, and will another new champion for the cause once elected Senator. Also in need of your support is pro-equality champion Senator Antoine Thompson. Last year, when Marriage failed the Senate, Senator Thompson was the lone vote from Western New York that supported Marriage Equality. Senator Thompson has helped to pass the Dignity for All Students bill, and has been a proponent of LGBT equality throughout his career in elected office. Senator Thompson’s opponent, Mark Grisanti, is strongly opposed to LGBT equality. You can help retain this great advocate for the LGBT community by volunteering your time at Sen. Thompson’s headquarters at 20 Court Street in downtown Buffalo or by calling 716-856-6030. And lastly, but certainly not least, we are proud to support State Assemblymember Sam Hoyt in his reelection this year. Sam Hoyt is, simply, Western New York’s fiercest champion in the State Assembly. Sam’s long history supporting civil rights is one closely linked with the work of the Stonewall Democrats. Always, Sam has been with us. And again, we will be with Sam. When Marriage Equality and GENDA are finally passed, it will be because of Sam Hoyt’s dedicated work, and those of legislators like him. SDWNY has also endorsed several candidates for judicial office. These candidates submitted questionnaires and interviewed before the general membership for endorsement, and displayed a breadth of knowledge and fairness that consisted of equality for all who may appear before them in a court. For Erie County Court, we are proud to support Judge James McLeod, a great judicial mind and a man of outstanding character. For the five available seats on the New York State Supreme Court, we have endorsed Catherine Nugent-Panepinto, a dedicated community activist, school board member and New York State Supreme Court Confidential Law Clerk. We have also endorsed Judge Eugene Fahey for reelection and Judge Hank Nowak for election to the Supreme Court. Judge Nowak is currently a Buffalo City Court Judge assigned to Buffalo Housing Court. For more information on our judicial candidates, please visit www.sdwny.org. For state-wide office, SDWNY has endorsed Andrew Cuomo for Governor and Rochester Mayor Robert Duffy for Lieutenant Governor, and Eric Schneidermann for Attorney General. There are clear lines drawn between Cuomo and Schneidermann and their Republican opponents on the issues of equality. All three men have been unquestionably strong advocates for LGBT rights throughout their careers, and will be fierce advocates as our next Governor, Lieutenant Governor and Attorney General. And today, we also have our WNY Congressional members running for reelection. Congressman Brian Higgins, Congresswoman Louise Slaughter and Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand have all been friends and advocates for LGBT rights in Washington. Again, I implore you to do all you can to help elect our good, pro-equality Democrats this Election Day. This last year, our community has had great victories, like the passing of Dignity for All Students and domestic partnerships in the City of Buffalo, alongside great disappointments, like the failure of GENDA in committee and Marriage Equality on the Senate floor. Today, vote to make Marriage Equality and GENDA a success in the coming year, by vote pro-equality. Thank you. Bryan Ball
Stonewall Democrats of Western New York:
2010 General Election Voters GuideNew York State Governor/Lieutenant Governor: Andrew Cuomo and Robert Duffy New York State Attorney General:Eric Schneiderman New York State Legislature:Assembly District 144:Assemblymember Sam Hoyt State Senate District 60:Senator Antoine Thompson State Senate District 58:Tim KennedyState Senate District 59: Cynthia Appleton State Senate District 56: Robin Wilt New York State Supreme Court: Catherine Nugent-PanepintoJudge Eugene Fahey Judge Hank NowakErie County Court:Judge James McLeod
With the election now underway, we are faced with seemingly daunting challenges. Republican candidates (and some Democrats) who oppose our equality are running for office from NYS Governor, to Attorney General, to Congress, and to the State legislature.
And now is the time that we stand up for our pro-equality Stonewall candidates and make sure they are victorious in November. At our recent Marriage Equality New York Wedding March in Buffalo, elected officials like Assemblymember Sam Hoyt and Senator Antoine Thompson talked about the realities of GENDA and Marriage Equality as soon as next year-- should the Democrats retain and gain a pro-equality majority.
As Stonewall Democrats, we have to make this dream a reality. We are looking to do phone bank nights, canvass days and other get out the vote efforts such as our soon-to-be-announced GOTV Candidate Rally-- and we need your help. If you are interested in volunteering to take part in our phone bank nights for Sam Hoyt, Antoine Thompson, or any of our other candidates-- please contact Bryan at 716-541-5557 or email Bryan_Ball@sdwny.org.
We can do this, and this November, equality-- for ourselves, children and families-- will triumph over the politics of hate at the polls.
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Tomorrow is an important day at the polls in Western New York. Its importance cannot be stressed enough. Tomorrow, the Democratic Primary in New York State will, in many elections, determine the future of our Stonewall issues such as the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act and Marriage Equality.
As we have been working to all year, we have to work the hardest we can (and then some) to protect our current elected officials, like Assemblymember Sam Hoyt, who have always been our most vocal and effective champions in Albany. We have to work to protect our Senator Antoine Thompson, who was the only “Yes” vote for Marriage Equality in the Senate late last year.
And we have to work to bring in the new class of officials, where there is a need for change, such as in the 58th District. The General Election will afford us tremendous opportunities in Senate Districts such as 56 and 59, where stellar progressive candidates like Robin Wilt and Cynthia Appleton are running to win Republican seats for the Democratic party—the only Party in NYS supportive of the LGBT community (though, of course, the Democratic Party is not without its problems.)
While there are a great many problems with the Democratic Party and current incumbents, let us not forget the good, effective fighters we have for our community in the NYS legislature. Champions like Sam Hoyt and Antoine Thompson, who brought us, through their dedication, the passage of the Dignity for All Students bill.
And we have a similar situation in the City of Buffalo Council, where we have the chance to retain Councilmember Curtis Haynes Jr., a pro-LGBT representative, who was vital in aiding the passage of city domestic partner legislation earlier this year. We also have Judge James McLeod, a longtime friend of the LGBT community, running for Erie County Court.
At the top of our state-wide primary ticket, I am proud that Stonewall is supporting Eric Schneiderman. Senator Schneiderman was vital in the passage of the Dignity for All Students bill, as well as an ardent supporter of Marriage Equality, Gender Expression Non-Discrimination and every other one of our issues in the NYS Senate. I know that he will continue his work as a true progressive leader in the office of Attorney General, and am proud to support him.
In the 144th Assembly District, Sam Hoyt is being challenged by an anti-LGBT Tea Party candidate who currently sits on the city council. As we have time and time again in the past, please come through for Sam Hoyt tomorrow. We cannot afford to lose the ultimate and true progressive champion he is in the Assembly. Send emails, use your Facebook status, or call friends and family on the phone to stress that Sam is the best kind of candidate the LGBT community can have in government, and that we need to help him to victory, so he can continue fighting for our issues, our rights and our families.
In the 60th Senate District, Senator Antoine Thompson is also running in a primary election. I implore you to do the same to spread the word about how Senator Thompson has, since his days as a city councilman, championed LGBT equality every chance he has been given.
Another vitally important election is happening in the 59th Senate District, where voters will decide the political future of Senator Bill Stachowski, one of our infamous “No” votes on Marriage Equality last year. With so many issues and complications involved in the primary, SDWNY was unable to endorse a candidate. I'm incredibly disappointed that Stonewall, and our community at large, is unable to support a candidate against Bill Stachowski. After years of lobbying and being strung along by the idea that Stachowski as our Senator was essential to the Democrats' survival in the majority, he proved last year where he is on the more important issue of civil rights and voted to deny our community and families the equality of basic civil rights.
Tomorrow, voters will chose.
Tim Kennedy is running a pro-LGBT campaign. At Stonewall Democrats meetings, follow-up meetings with officers such as myself and throughout the campaign, Tim Kennedy has pledged to support the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act and Marriage Equality. He is also pro-life, an issue which for many in the LGBT community is a crucial issue of human rights. And he is running an incredibly strong and serious campaign.
Michael Kuzma is also running a pro-LGBT campaign. Also at Stonewall Democrats meetings and throughout the year, Mike has pledged to support GENDA and Marriage Equality. Mike is pro-choice, and has the endorsement of NARAL Pro-Choice NY. Michael Kuzma is a proud progressive.
If you feel Tim Kennedy is the right candidate for our community, vote for him and help him get elected. If you feel Mike Kuzma is the right candidate—I urge you to do the same for him. But whatever the outcome may be, I know the LGBT community is ready to rally around a pro-LGBT Democrat to take on Jack Quinn, a member of the party that uniformly denied us Marriage hand-in-hand with Stachowski last year, and a candidate who has his own experience in bigoted voting in the Assembly.
But whoever our Senator may be come next year, in the 58th District and beyond, I hope that you join Stonewall and Outspoken for Equality in our lobbying efforts to bring GENDA and Marriage to pass; to work to change the minds of those who may not understand our issues, and work to help those who do work within the Senate to make these issues law-- in letters, in phone calls and in person lobbying in Albany.
Thank you for your time, and for being a committed Stonewall Democrat.