Updated 06/19/2011 05:16 PM
Marriage Equality Supporters Rally For Potential State Senate Vote
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With the legalization of same-sex marriage still awaiting approval from the State Senate, gay rights advocates held rallies in Union Square and across the city on Sunday as a final push to convince undecided lawmakers
The organization Queer Rising held a rally and march that started in Union Square and ended in Christopher Street by the Stonewall Inn, the birthplace of the modern gay rights movement.
The rally was dubbed the "Last Day Of Marriage Inequality," as Monday is the final day of the legislative session and the State Senate is expected to vote on a gay marriage legalization bill.
The State Assembly already passed the bill on Wednesday.
One participant, the Reverend Jacqueline Lewis, the senior minister at Middle Collegiate College, believed the state was on the verge of seeing a monumental moment.
"I am feeling just on the cusp of all those freedom riders on the buses. I am feeling just on the cusp of the end of the Vietnam War. I am feeling like we are about to make history," she said.
"I'm out here because I believe in civil marriage, because the government needs to recognize the differences between church and state," said another demonstrator in Union Square. "All we're asking for are equal rights under the Constitution."
The group New Yorkers United for Marriage also led rallies in favor of gay marriage across the state Sunday, including one at the Unitarian Church of Staten Island.
"It would mean our relationship is recognized as being legitimate and that the community would have to honor and cherish our relationship," said a Staten Island demonstrator.
Some members of the Latino community also showed their support for legalizing same-sex marriage. They joined elected officials and clergy members to rally at the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Community Center on West 13th Street.
Despite supporters' outcries, there were still some Senate Republicans who said the bill does not have not enough protection for religious groups.
The Republicans have been negotiating with Governor Andrew Cuomo, who has made legalizing same-sex marriage a priority of his administration.
New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan said on Sunday he is praying for the bill's defeat.
"Marriage is already defined as the life-long union between one man and one woman in love, bringing about children," said Dolan. "I don’t think it’s political just to stand up and say 'Let’s not tamper with that.
In spite of the uncertainty of the outcome of the vote, assuming it would happen at all, Sunday's gay marriage supporters were cautiously optimistic.
"It is not just for the gay people, it is for all of New York State, that we all can be united and bring this state to the glory that it always has been," said a demonstrator. "We are the Big Apple for a reason, let it be the 'shiny apple' for once."