The Celebrity Side of New York's Gay Marriage Debate

The boldfaced names with a stake in the stalled vote

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On Monday, former New York Giants wide receiver David Tyree briefly became the focus of the gay marriage story when he showed up in Albany to voice his objections to legalizing gay marriage. Now the celebrities on the other side of the debate are out in force, including celebrity chef Mario Batali who is in Albany and willing to talk to "anybody who will listen to me," according to the New York Observer, about why the stalled bill should be brought to the floor. He hopes to have better luck than the other boldfaced names who have tried to turn the tide in the debate.

Lance Bass Plenty of performers--including Lucy Liu, Mark Ruffalo, John Slattery, Julianne Moore, Sam Waterston, Whoopi Goldberg and Joan Rivers--have made come out in favor of the legislation, but Bass, who came out in 2006, went the extra mile. Last week, he staffed a phone bank with New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg and Def Jam records founder Russell Simmons, making calls to legislators alongside volunteers at the 1199 SEIU local offices in Manhattan.

Cynthia Nixon The Sex & the City star went to Albany last month to lobby legislators to pass the bill. She did the same thing in 2009, the last time New York was debating legalizing gay marriage.

Michael Strahan The former New York Giants defensive end and girlfriend Nicole Murphy filmed a public service announcement earlier this month in support of the legislation. In an interview with the New York Times, Strahan laughed off the suggestion his stance could hurt him in his new career as an NFL studio analyst. “Heck, I work for Fox, man,” Strahan said. “They’ve got Glee on T.V.”

Sean Avery The New York Rangers enforcer became the first active pro athlete to support the New York bill last month. Like Strahan, Avery announced his stance in a video produced by the Human Rights Campaign, the gay rights group that's leading the publicity push in support of the New York bill. (Phoenix Suns point guard Steve Nash appeared in an HRC ad a few weeks later.) His position put hockey fans accustomed to disliking the Rangers forward in an awkward position.

David Tyree The former Giants wide receiver and Super Bowl XLII hero broke with his former teammate Strahan,  in an ad for the conservative National Organization for Marriage. Tyree said legalized same-sex marriage would result in "anarchy" and would mark the moment society "loses its grip with what's right."

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.