Friday’s decision by the New York State Legislature to redefine marriage shows not only the weakness of New York’s legislators, but also the enormous spending power wielded by the small but vocal minority seeking to redefine marriage and the family.
A recent poll showed that nearly 60 percent of New Yorkers support marriage as it has always been understood. The fact that New York’s legislators deliberately ignored the calls of their constituents to defend the institution of marriage shows how little they respect the will of their people and how much they fear the homosexual lobby.
The so-called religious protections that were tacked on to the bill ultimately will do nothing to protect the religious rights of New York citizens. When push comes to shove, as in other states, activist judges are sure to rule against religious organizations. And even if the so-called “inseverability clause” in the legislation were to hold, which is doubtful, the language does nothing to protect people of faith who might object, only the buildings where they go to worship.
Laws undermining the sanctity of marriage anywhere diminish marriage everywhere. If marriage is not a sacred institution, grounded in natural law, for the raising of families, then what is it?
What’s so unfortunate for conservatives is that Republicans in the New York Senate allowed this to happen, especially Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos. Chicago politics has nothing on New York. The fact that Senator Skelos’s company has a $1.7 billion contract with the state government probably weighed heavy on his mind. New York’s families were not represented well by either of the state’s major parties on this issue, as their opinions were largely ignored.
Republicans at the state and national level should take heed. If you won’t stand up for the values that have helped shape the Republican Party since its origin, values voters will either stay home or find new alternatives in which to place their support. In New York this lesson will be learned.
Homosexual marriage isn’t an issue of individual rights, since every American can marry — right now — if they choose. The fact that there are restrictions on who they can marry, and at what age, or restrictions on marrying relatives, does not mean they are being discriminated against, but that marriage is defined in a certain way.
Furthermore, the first “victim” of same-sex “marriage” is always religious liberty, the “first freedom” in our Bill of Rights. In places such as Massachusetts and the District of Columbia, the local governments chased the Catholic Church out of the business of adoption, believing that pushing a radical agenda is worth sacrificing a few orphans over.
It is for this reason the Catholic Church in New York State fought so valiantly, alongside heroes such as State Senator Ruben Diaz, a Democrat.
Of course, the most unfortunate result of this bill is that the New York State Legislature’s denial of its citizens’ right to vote on the issue of marriage eliminates the possibility that the people of New York could stand up and speak for themselves, as the voters in the solid majority of states, including California, were able to do. According to pollster John McLaughlin, a native New Yorker, “if they had brought the gay marriage bill to a public referendum, I don’t think it would have passed.”
Governor Andrew Cuomo and supporters of counterfeit “marriage” have won a victory in New York State. The losers, sadly, are the people of New York.
Tom McClusky is senior vice president at Family Research Council Action, the legislative advocacy arm of the Family Research Council. He is a native New Yorker.