Marriage Battle Sparks Debate in the Empire State

Gov. Cuomo’s attempt to push for same-sex “marriage” finds much opposition, including from Archbishop Dolan.

(photo: Shutterstock)

Albany, N.Y. (CNA) — Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s attempt to push for same-sex “marriage” in New York state has again brought out supporters of traditional marriage who say the proposal threatens to create an “Orwellian” redefinition of the basic truth about marriage.

“Marriage is the fundamental building block of society. It has been from time immemorial,” New York Catholic Conference communications director Dennis Poust told Catholic News Agency May 16. “We believe that what this bill would do is separate forever the link between marriage and procreation, which we think would have a devastating long-term impact on society.

“The state ought to be looking at ways to strengthen marriage as we know it to be, rather than changing it and watering it down and being politically correct and saying marriage is something other
than what we know it to be.”

A New York bill to recognize same-sex “marriage” failed in the state Senate in 2009 by a vote of 38-24.

Gov. Cuomo, who took office this year, has characterized the issue as a “fundamental civil-rights battle.” However, he will not introduce the bill unless he is certain it will pass. His administration is trying to coax more votes from undecided legislators by gradually increasing pressure instead of twisting arms, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Republican State Sen. Greg Ball, who voted against the bill as an assemblyman but is now “genuinely undecided,” said that he and other key legislators had not heard from the governor. Democratic

Sens. Carl Kruger and Joseph Addabbo, who also voted against the previous bill, similarly said they had not heard from the governor.

Opponents of the bill are also gathering support.

“We’re working very hard, as are members of the evangelical community and other groups, to firm up the opposition in the state Legislature and try and prevent it from ever being introduced in this session,” Poust said.

Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York defended the nature of marriage in a May 13 post on his blog, The Gospel in the Digital Age.

He professed Catholics’ “love and respect” for homosexual people but criticized attempts to brand as “bigots and bullies” Catholics, other Christians, Jews and others who oppose the redefinition of marriage.

The archbishop said that the definition of marriage is “a given,” a union of “love and fidelity” between one man and one woman.

“To uphold that traditional definition, to strengthen it, and to defend it is not a posture of bigotry or bullying. Nor is it a denial of the ‘right’ of anybody,” he said, adding that not every desire is a right.

Thousands of demonstrators rallied in the Bronx on May 15 in opposition to the proposed redefinition. Organizers of the event included Hispanic leaders such as State Sen. Ruben Diaz Sr., a Democrat and a longtime opponent of same-sex “marriage.”

“It is time that our community stands up and fights for those moral, social, civic and cultural values that are found in the Bible and that our grandparents have instilled in us in our native Hispanic countries,” he said before the event.

Supporters of traditional marriage have launched a $500,000 television ad campaign and are robo-calling voters in swing-vote districts.

Although Republicans nationally tend to be strong supporters of traditional marriage, some wealthy New York party backers are funding the push for marriage redefinition. They include financiers Steven Cohen, Clifford Asness, Daniel Loeb and Paul Singer, The New York Times reports.

The funds help support New Yorkers United for Marriage, a group targeting Republican lawmakers to persuade them to join most Senate Democrats in supporting the bill.

Singer, a hedge-fudge manager and top GOP donor, chairs the Manhattan Institute and has a homosexual son who contracted a marriage with a man in Massachusetts. He has donated $425,000 of his own money and has personally solicited $500,000 from others.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a former Republican who is now unaffiliated, has also donated at least $100,000 of his own money. He has hosted a fundraiser for the effort and has lobbied lawmakers on the issue.

Donations from these men make up about two-thirds of the same-sex “marriage” coalition’s fundraising coffers. Some of the donors were recruited by Ken Mehlman, chairman of the Republican National Committee from 2005-2007 and campaign manager for George W. Bush’s 2004 re-election campaign. Mehlman announced that he was homosexual and a supporter of same-sex “marriage” in 2010.

“We can’t match the money that’s being thrown at this by the other side, from Hollywood celebrities, from Mayor Bloomberg who’s a billionaire, and from these so-called Republican business leaders,” Poust told CNA.

“All we can do is speak the truth and hope that the legislature is not swayed by dollar signs, and instead they are swayed by a fundamental truth that everyone in their heart really knows.”
Asness told The New York Times he is a “small-government guy” who thinks same-sex “marriage” is “an issue of basic freedom.”

However, Archbishop Dolan suggested freedom would be endangered if the bill passes. He invoked the work of dystopian novelist George Orwell and warned that supporters of traditional marriage become “harassed and penalized” in countries where marriage is redefined: “If big, intrusive government can redefine the most basic, accepted, revealed truth that marriage simply means one man + one woman + (hopefully) children, in a loving family, then, I’m afraid, Orwell’s works will no longer be on the fiction shelf.”

The Earth is Not Our Mother

“The main point of Christianity was this: that Nature is not our mother: Nature is our sister. We can be proud of her beauty, since we have the same father; but she has no authority over us; we have to admire, but not to imitate.”—G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy