Monday, June 20, 2011

No News Can't Be Good News For NY Marriage Equality Showdown

The clock is ticking... With the current New York legislative session ending this week, no news came out of Albany Monday in Gov. Andrew Cuomo's dedicated push for marriage equality. Reports claim it has been delayed by deal-making over rent control and other issues.

The state assembly approved the measure last Wednesday, with a Senate vote imminently due. Republicans hold a 32-30 advantage over Democrats, however, two GOP lawmakers have promised to vote in favor, with one homophobic Democrat joining Republicans, evening the vote.

Over the weekend, Cuomo said he was willing to amend the proposal, which already includes protection for religious organizations refusing to marry same-sex couples. But Senate Republicans—fearing retribution from the religious right—want further provisions to show conservatives they really, truly, for sure don't like it one bit.

I say, give them the concessions, as long as the bill becomes law. There are plenty of non-denominational ministers more than happy to wed gay couples—I happen to be one, after performing two straight wedding ceremonies, with a third this summer.

Meanwhile, religious leaders continue to peddle hate. Archbishop Timothy Dolan, the state’s top Roman Catholic leader, spewed on Friday that the legislation poses an “ominous threat” to society, comparing its passage to Communism. I'm pretty sure Dolan was also horrified when mixed-race couples were allowed to marry.

Sunday, he used his pulpit at St. Patrick's Cathedral to discuss politics—a move that would've made Jerry Falwell proud—calling on parishioners to pray "that marriage stays between a man and a woman." Apparently, it didn't go over so well; a number in the congregation found such a prayer offensive and inappropriate.

Other zealots are also making fools of themselves. Here's a good one: New York Giants' athlete David Tyree yammered that "his God" should be honored by keeping marriage between a man and woman.

Asked if he would give up the his 2007 Super Bowl win to stop gay marriage, he responded, "I probably would. Nothing means more to me than that my God would be honored. Being the fact that I firmly believe that God created and ordained marriage between a man and a woman, I believe that's something that should be fought for at all costs. I'll lay down everything I am to preserve the honor and integrity of the God I serve."

He added that gay marriage would lead to anarchy: "Once you allow something like same-sex marriage, it opens up the door for a continual softening to the backbone of our society, which will eventually, for generations to come, open up the door for, who knows, polygamy, and all other things." Give this man a Pulitzer for public speaking! What an intellectual statement!

Gov. Cuomo has countered marriage equality haters by insisting that religious concerns should be separated from the debate over civil marriage: “I happen to be Catholic. That’s my business and that’s my religion. This has nothing to do with my beliefs as a Catholic. This is marriage in a civil context: marriage as defined by government, not by a religion.” New York Daily News poll, Monday, June 20, 2011.