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A serious campaign for same-sex marriage in NY, led by Governor Cuomo

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It looks like New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is using his political capital to pass same-sex marriage. A new campaign organization, New Yorkers United for Marriage, will be launched today -- and it's led by consultants close to the Governor. He's putting his brand on this effort. And, Cuomo plays to win. Michael Barbaro at the NY Times has the scoop:

But Mr. Cuomo, who has vowed a personal push to win passage of same-sex marriage this year, has instructed his staff members to oversee the campaign to ensure it runs smoothly.

In weekly meetings over the past four weeks, at the governor’s office in Manhattan, high-level aides to Mr. Cuomo have repeatedly pressed advocates to communicate to lawmakers and the public with one voice.

“If this gets done, it’s through coordination,” the governor’s top aide, Steve M. Cohen, has told the advocates, according to those who have participated in the Friday afternoon sessions.

To that end, four influential gay rights groups — the Empire State Pride Agenda, the Human Rights Campaign, Freedom to Marry and Marriage Equality New York — will form a single organization called New Yorkers United for Marriage.

The coalition is hiring Jennifer Cunningham, a veteran labor and media strategist who is close to the governor and has advised his campaigns. Ms. Cunningham and her firm, SKD Knickerbocker, will oversee the coalition’s media campaign and political strategy.
This is serious.

First, getting the groups to sacrifice their own brands for the greater cause is a critical step. We know how advocacy groups spend a lot of time trying to insure they can take credit -- or avoid blame. But, in New York, there will be one campaign with one goal: Passing marriage. I suspect that if any of the groups try to push their own agenda or brand, they'll be smacked back into line by the Cuomo crew.

Then, the Governor's team is basically running the show. They know how to do this kind of campaign. This is going to be an intense, sophisticated effort. The Governor is making it clear that passing same-sex marriage is important to him. And, he is the most powerful politician in New York, by far.

I'm impressed. It sounds like this will happen fast. So, get ready.

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