New York City -
A day after some gay New Yorkers booed mayor Michael Bloomberg as he marched in the Gay Pride Parade city council voted 41 - 4 to override the mayor's veto and pass the Equal Benefits Bill.
The legislation requires contractors that do more than $100,000 of business each year with NYC to offer the equal benefits. It is expected to make health coverage available to tens of thousands of additional people in the New York City region and hundreds of thousands across the country.
The original bill was passed by council in May, but early this month Bloomberg vetoed it.
Today's override vote was more than the two-thirds needed. Even though Bloomberg's own media company has a benefits package in place the mayor said that the council measure would restrict companies wanting to do business in New York.
Bloomberg may get the last say on the issue. He has threatened to block implementation of the EBB by challenging its provisions in court.
“We hope he takes another look at the bill and the good it will accomplish," said Empire State Pride Agenda Executive Director Alan Van Capelle. "We have always wanted the Mayor’s support and we would still like to have it. But if that is not possible, we encourage the Mayor to not create impediments to the law’s implementation, but to allow the will of the people to be put into practice.”
During his election race in 2001, Bloomberg said in the Pride Agenda’s candidate questionnaire that he supported the EBB.. After the election he changed his position, making his opposition public for the first time at the Pride Agenda’s 2002 annual fall fundraiser dinner.
"The range of concerns the Mayor cited then and again earlier this month when he vetoed the EBB have largely been put to rest by the experiences of San Francisco and other cities with similar laws in place," Van Capelle said.