A New York Times article contains a touching story regarding Senator Ruth Hassell-Thompson's decision to support the bill. Hassell-Thompson, a black Democrat, represents parts of the Bronx and Westchester County. During the floor debate, she passionately discussed the strife that homophobia, bigotry, and heterosexism cause:
[Hassell-Thompson] spoke publicly for the first time about her gay brother, who was shunned by her family and moved to France.Hassell-Thompson's intimate plea could not melt the icy bigotry that New York senators displayed. This decision is a vote against equality and human dignity. It is also a vote against the will of the public; a recent Marist poll shows that a majority of New York voters support same-sex marriage. Shame on the New York Senate.
“He had disappeared from our lives. And my father worried, but he could not ask him to come home,” she said, fighting back tears. Ms. Hassell-Thompson said she searched for her brother and eventually found him and asked him to come home. But he told her he was hesitant because he felt his family did not want to see him. "I said, 'But your sister does.'"