Main | Monday, January 17, 2011

NY MARRIAGE SIGNAL? Gov. Cuomo Appoints Eric Bottcher To Cabinet Post

In a move that some say may signal a renewed push for marriage equality, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has hired Eric Bottcher to fill the newly created cabinet post of Special Assistant for Community Affairs. Previously, the openly gay Bottcher served as NYC Council Speaker Christine Quinn's LGBT community liaison. The NY Daily News weighs on what Bottcher's appointment may mean.
The historically liberal Cuomo has to walk a tightrope on gay marriage: If he pushes it ahead of economic issues in the current climate, he could develop an "Obama Problem" of the kind that forced the President's course correction from a focus on health care reform to "jobs, jobs, jobs." On the other hand, the new governor risks angering his left-leaning base if he allows a civil rights issue like this one to languish indefinitely. Ross Levi, executive director of the Empire State Pride Agenda, argues there is "a clear and credible path" to legalizing same-sex marriage as soon as this year. Levi points to polls showing New Yorkers increasingly supportive of legalization and a study by former city Controller Bill Thompson that says the lack of legal gay marriage costs New York money. The economic impact argument may influence some moderate or conservative lawmakers who are socially squeamish about gays marrying, he says.
What exact role Bottcher - whose statewide work won't be limited to LGBT issues - and Cuomo play in this battle remains to be seen.

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