While tepidly lauding Andrew Cuomo, the New York Times objects to language that may keep Catholic charities in business. (The hastily drawn language, we add, may or may not do that much or little, time will tell).
But the Times asks, why accomodate "bigotry" at all?
In drafting a compromise, however, Senator Saland and other Republicans insisted on language that carves out exceptions for religious institutions and not-for-profit corporations affiliated with those religious entities. That provision allows those tax-exempt entities to refuse to marry a same-sex couple or to allow the use of their buildings or services for weddings or wedding parties. There was simply no need for these exemptions, since churches are protected under both the federal Constitution and New York law from being required to marry anyone against their beliefs. Equally troubling, an “inseverability clause” in the act appears to make it impossible for any court to invalidate part of the law without invalidating the whole law — raising questions about what happens to couples during an appeal.
While some civil rights advocates are optimistic that these provisions are relatively minor, we are deeply troubled by their discriminatory intent. The whole purpose of this law should be to expand civil rights without shedding other protections in the process.