Sunday, 26 June 2011

With "Gay" Marriage Legal in N.Y., Battle Heats up Nationally

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homosexual marriageOn June 24 New York became the third state to legalize homosexual marriage through legislation, after the Republican-controlled state Senate voted 33 to 29 to approve a “gay marriage” bill that had earlier sailed through state assembly. Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo, who had made the issue a major component of his campaign for election last year, quickly signed the bill into law.

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Passage, however, came only after a core of GOP Senators — James Alesi, Roy MacDonald, Stephen Saland, and Mark Grisanti — caved in to political pressure and announced that they would vote for the bill. “While I understand that my vote will disappoint many,” said Saland, “I also know my vote is a vote of conscience.”

The Republican compromise prompted one major pro-family group, the National Organization for Marriage (NOM), to pledge at least $2 million to “hold GOP politicians accountable for supporting gay marriage,” reported CBN News. The group’s president, Brian Brown, said that the “Republican Party has torn up its contract with the voters who trusted them in order to facilitate Andrew Cuomo’s bid to be president of the U.S. Selling out your principles to get elected is wrong. Selling out your principles to get the other guy elected is just plain dumb.”

After the vote NOM’s founder, Maggie Gallagher, issued a statement declaring that “New York Republicans are responsible for passing gay marriage. The party will pay a grave price.”

Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council also lashed out at the Republicans, noting, “While it was the Democrats who were pushing this agenda, it is the Republicans in the N.Y. Senate who ultimately allowed this to happen, especially Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos. Sadly, the families of New York are not represented well by either of the state’s major parties on this issue.”

New York follows New Hampshire and Vermont in passing a homosexual marriage bill by the legislative process, and becomes the sixth and largest state allowing same-sex couples to “marry.” New York’s population totals more than all five of the other states where same-sex marriage has been legalized: Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, Connecticut, and Iowa.

Passage of the bill also represents a huge victory for homosexual activists, who just three years ago saw a similar win — the legalization of same-sex marriage in California — overturned when voters in that state approved a constitutional amendment stipulating that marriage could only be between a man and a woman. “That will not happen in New York,” reported Baptist Press News, “which, unlike California, does not allow citizens to drive the initiative process. Any marriage amendment in New York must be initiated by the legislature—a highly unlikely event.”

Homosexual activists hope the latest win will provide the momentum to push their agenda nationally. “Now that we’ve made it here, we’ll make it everywhere,” the Associated Press quoted Evan Wolfson of Freedom to Marry as saying. He predicted that nationwide legalization of same-sex marriage could come in the next 10 years “if we do the work and keep making the case.”

A banner on the group’s website urged visitors to donate to the cause, declaring: “Keep up the momentum. With your victory in New York, the momentum for marriage is growing. Help us win more states.” Wolfson said that the “unprecedented support from Republicans, corporations, and even pro athletes demonstrates how mainstream ending the exclusion of gay and lesbian couples from marriage has become.”

Added Fred Sainz of the pro-homosexual Human Rights Campaign, “New York sends the message that marriage equality across the country is a question of ‘when,’ not ‘if.’”

With the victory homosexual activists are poised to attack those states that are most vulnerable to passage of similar same-sex marriage bills. In addition, they have an emerging ally in President Obama, and a hope that the U.S. Supreme Court will see legalization of “gay” marriage in New York as justification to sweep traditional marriage laws aside in all 50 states.

“This will be a big boost to our efforts nationally,” Richard Socarides, a former Clinton White House adviser on homosexual rights, told the AP. “It will help in the pending court cases to show that more states are adopting same-sex marriage, and it will help in the court of public opinion.”

Wolfson said that key to forcing homosexual marriage on the nation would be “creating a critical mass of states and a critical mass of public opinion — some combination that will encourage Congress and the Supreme Court. By winning New York, we add tremendous energy to the national conversation that grows the majority.”

Ultimately, however, the Supreme Court will be forced to take into consideration the fact that 29 states have inscribed traditional marriage — “between a man and a woman” — in their state constitutions. Additionally, homosexual marriage has never won a state ballot initiative, while traditional marriage has been approved by state voters on numerous occasions.

Even in New York, a poll taken before the legislative vote showed that 57 percent of the state’s residents agreed that “marriage should only be between a man and a woman,” compared to 32 percent who disagreed and 11 percent who either weren’t sure or did not respond. Additionally, about 59 percent of New York voters said that they, not the state legislature, should decide the issue.

In addition to targeting individual states, same-sex marriage advocates are aggressively campaigning for the repeal of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), a federal law that prohibits federal recognition of homosexual couples. In this effort they have the partnership of President Obama who in February ordered the Justice Department to stop defending the law in federal court.

While Mr. Obama has not yet come out directly in favor of legalizing homosexual marriage, he has aggressively courted the political favor of homosexual groups and insisted that his opinion on the issue is “evolving.”

In the meantime, homosexual groups have launched a variety of petition efforts focused on increasing the momentum for “gay” marriage at the federal level. For example, reported AP, “Freedom to Marry says that more than 112,000 people have signed its ‘Say I Do’ appeal to the president, and gay marriage supporters have launched an EvolveAlready campaign on Twitter.”

Said Robin McGehee of GetEqual, “We hope that, through this public pressure, we’ll be able to move the president to understand that he’s falling behind the majority of Americans who see marriage equality as a key civil right.”

A group representing New York’s Roman Catholic bishops released a statement predicting that with the passage of the same-sex marriage bill would come more overt attacks on churches and groups that refuse to compromise on such a foundational issue of morality. “We strongly uphold the Catholic Church’s clear teaching that we always treat our homosexual brothers and sisters with respect, dignity and love,” said the statement, signed by all the bishops of New York’s eight Catholic diocese. “But we just as strongly affirm that marriage is the joining of one man and one woman in a lifelong, loving union that is open to children, ordered for the good of those children and the spouses themselves.”

The bishops emphasized that such a definition “cannot change, though we realize that our beliefs about the nature of marriage will continue to be ridiculed, and that some will even now attempt to enact government sanctions against churches and religious organizations that preach these timeless truths.”

The bishops expressed their concern “that both marriage and the family will be undermined by this tragic presumption of government in passing this legislation that attempts to redefine these cornerstones of civilization.” They concluded by challenging that “society must regain what it appears to have lost — a true understanding of the meaning and the place of marriage, as revealed by God, grounded in nature, and respected by America’s foundational principles.”