In a continued effort to achieve marriage equality for New York, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) has released their latest video testimonial from Barbara Bush, 29, daughter of former Republican President George W. Bush. The HRC’s latest campaign, New Yorkers for Marriage Equality seeks to promote awareness about marriage equality for the LGBT community as well as lend support to the legislative battle. Brian Ellner, who oversees the campaign states, “No matter what party they belong to, young Americans believe in basic fairness and equality.”
Bush joins the ranks of other public figures such as Whoopi Goldberg, former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Robert F. Kennedy Jr. who have also lent their voices to this crusade. According to CBS News, Fred Sainz, vice president of communications at HRC reported that Bush joined the campaign after he was introduced to her through mutual friends who knew of her support for marriage equality. Sainz stated, Bush’s support of marriage equality in New York “sends a message to all Republicans across this country that this does not have to be – should not be – a partisan issue.”
Bush states, “Every New Yorker deserves the right to marry” in the recorded video. Despite the failure of a 2009 bill to accomplish this goal, recently elected New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has voiced his intention to lobby for such legislation. Other elected officials under Cuomo hope to introduce and pass legislation to allow marriage equality including openly gay City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, Erik Bottcher and Senator Thomas Duane.
Other prominent Republicans have also spoken out in support of marriage equality such as Meghan McCain, daughter of former 2008 presidential nominee, John McCain, and Mary Cheney, Dick Cheney’s openly gay daughter. Mary McCain’s open letter called on Republicans to back marriage equality, saying, “It is the best and fairest way to grant gay and lesbian neighbors and family members the protections and responsibilities that they need to provide for their family and give back to their community.”
Writing on CNN, LZ Granderson discusses the tensions that are present among political figures when trying to negotiate their role within the public sphere and their support for LGBT equality, but at the same time he welcomes Bush to the “party.” While Granderson speaks about the tensions of tight roping through politics, other politicians such as R. Clarke Cooper, executive director of Log Cabin Republicans, says the marriage issue is a “non-issue” for most people under 30 according to the Washington Post—highlighting a growing trend among younger Americans who feel that marriage should be a universal right.
Now that HRC is close to five months into the campaign, there is still much momentum for the campaign to gain as New York Democrats and Republicans lobby for possible legislation in 2011 that will grant marriage equality for all New Yorkers.