April 14, 2011
By Adam Bink
Part of my organizing philosophy is that one person can make a difference. We all feel that things we click on or write or contribute go into the ether, when in reality, as demonstrated this morning, we use your contribution, letters, petitions to go out and do things.
Yesterday, my sister, Melanie, dropped me a line. She lives back home in Niagara County, north of Buffalo, NY, and is represented by State Sen. George Maziarz, a fairly partisan Republican who is also a member of the Republican leadership. He is also an opponent of same-sex marriage and voted against the bill when it came up in the New York State Senate in December 2009.
Melanie was asked by the Human Rights Campaign to e-mail Sen. Maziarz to note the now-record level of support in New York State for same-sex marriage (58% according to the independent and noted Siena poll) and ask him to support same-sex marriage when it comes to a vote. Here’s what she took a minute to send (and I’m proud of her for doing it):
Sent by: Human Rights Campaign
Date: 04/04/2011 09:01PM
Subject: Support Marriage Equality in New York
Apr 4, 2011
Senator George Maziarz
Legislative Office Building, Room 708
Albany, NY 12247
Dear Senator Maziarz,
As your constituent and a supporter of the Human Rights Campaign,
please support the freedom of every New Yorker to marry the person they
love, regardless of their sexual orientation. Marriage is essential to
making all families more secure.
Same-sex couples pay the same taxes, follow the same laws and should
have the same access to a civil marriage license. Respecting the
marriages of same-sex couples will strengthen relationships, foster
stability and make families more secure, enabling them to take care of
themselves so the government won’t have to.
Making marriage equality a reality is not only the right thing to do,
it’s also the smart thing to do. A clear majority of New Yorkers
support the freedom to marry, including every age group and region in
Please vote to treat all New Yorkers equally this year. Thank you.
And here’s what she got back in reply:
Date: April 13, 2011 12:29:55 PM EDT
Subject:Re: Support Marriage Equality in New York
I just wanted to take a moment to thank you very much for the e-mail you sent to my office in support of sanctioning gay marriages in New York State. I greatly appreciate your input and your personal perspective on the issue, and I will certainly keep your views in mind as the debate on this proposal continues.
Senator, 62nd District
It might be an exchange, one of many, that Sen. Maziarz remembers when he goes to vote. We’ll see.
One can’t always guarantee it’s the Senator himself or herself replying. But I’ve seen it happen before (and might explain the 9-day delay in reply). This was an exchange sent to me by my friend Perry with his State Senator in Syracuse:
Date: Thu, Nov 12, 2009 at 11:27 AM
Subject: Re: Vote for the marriage equality bill
To: PerryThank you for your email with regard to the Governor’s Marriage Equality
Bill.Please know that should this bill make it to the Senate floor, I will be
I hope this information is helpful to you.
Date: 11/10/2009 03:24 PM
Subject: Vote for the marriage equality bill
Senator David Valesky
State Capitol Building
Washington Ave. and State Street
Albany, NY 12247
Dear Senator Valesky,
I need you to make sure the marriage equality bill (S.4401)
comes to the floor today and to vote in support of this crucial
legislation for LGBT families. Same-sex couples and their
families cannot and should not have to wait any longer for a
vote that will determine if they will have access to the 1,324
rights and protections that our state provides to all other
It is time for the New York State Senate to take up the issue of
marriage equality. Millions of gay and lesbian New Yorkers and
their friends and families expect and deserve a vote on this
matter in the State Senate.
This should not be a partisan matter. It should be a vote of
conscience that occurs today. I will be watching to see what
action you take on this issue.
Sen. Valesky (D-Syracuse) ended up staying true to his promise and voting for the bill, and I know for a fact he wrote back to Perry himself.
My point is that, especially on the local level, one person can make a difference and reach his or her elected representative. These e-mails matter, especially as NOM is alerting its members that the NY State Legislature is “set” to vote on a bill again in the coming weeks. Whether or not Sen. Maziarz votes for equality, Melanie’s note is being noticed and counted by someone.
So if you’re a New York State resident, please do take a minute to do what my sister did. You might end up reaching the Senator him or herself so he or she knows you’re watching.