By THOMAS KAPLAN
Published: October 27, 2011
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, hailed as a hero at a gala dinner for the state’s largest gay rights group, issued a passionate plea on Thursday for other states to follow New York’s lead and allow gay couples to wed.
Times Topic: Same-Sex Marriage, Civil Unions, and Domestic Partnerships
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Mr. Cuomo, who choreographed the successful push this year to win legalization of same-sex marriage, received a standing ovation that lasted for more than a minute from supporters of the group, the Empire State Pride Agenda.
Shifting his sights beyond New York in a way he has not done before, Mr. Cuomo demanded that the federal Defense of Marriage Act be repealed. His voice rising in intensity as he spoke, he also called for federal legislation that would bar discrimination against gay men and lesbians in housing and employment.
And in his most forceful terms to date, Mr. Cuomo called for his counterparts across the country to embrace what he framed as an issue of equal rights and to push for the legalization of same-sex marriage in their own statehouses.
“We need marriage equality in every state in this nation,” Mr. Cuomo said. “Otherwise, no state really has marriage equality, and we will not rest until it is a reality.”
The event, which raised more than $1.2 million for the group, had a celebratory air, with frequent mentions of the new marriage law. The City Council speaker, Christine C. Quinn, introduced Mr. Cuomo, saying that his election had “made all the difference in the world.”
The governor, who was given a leadership award from the group, spoke at the Sheraton New York Hotel and Towers in Midtown before 1,200 people.
In his speech, he praised gay rights advocates for their hard work and also thanked many elected officials, including his predecessor, Gov. David A. Paterson, and the four Republican state senators who provided the critical votes to pass the marriage bill and whom Mr. Cuomo named one by one to some of the loudest applause of the evening.