NOM BLOG

NOM PAC New York Marriage News: September 9, 2009

 

NOM Marriage News.

Donate to NOM! Follow us on Facebook! Follow us on Twitter!

Dear Friends of Marriage,

Summer is over, and politicians are returning to Albany and Trenton to face an ongoing immense crisis: In the economic collapse, a budget hole the size of the potholes on the BQE is opening up. (Maybe even bigger!) Many in the tri-state area are going to be seriously hurting from looming service cuts and/or tax increases.

These are serious times. So what did New York's accidental Gov. Paterson decide to prioritize? Pushing a gay marriage bill through the New York legislature by late September.

Glenn Blain of the Daily News reported on Saturday, "Governor Paterson aims to push bill on gay marriage during special session." He revealed his intentions in an interview with The Advocate, a major gay newspaper, naturally. Why is it that when certain liberal politicians get in trouble in the polls they start playing to the base and ignoring the priorities of the people?

Fight back! Send this newsletter to two friends today! Be ready to stand up for God's truth about marriage in a few weeks--in New York first, and later New Jersey. (Read more below.)

Thank you for your help in alerting national political leaders to the pending debacle in New York's 23rd Congressional District. Pres. Obama is appointing the sitting Republican Congressman to a cabinet position. But as Ken Tomlinson, a respected journalist who worked for many years at Reader's Digest, points out in the Weekly Standard, GOP leaders used a backdoor process to appoint "the most liberal Republican congressional candidate in memory" to be their nominee. (Don't let the politicians ignore your voice--help us fight back!)

Tomlinson notes that Scozzafava "is pro-card check, pro-abortion, and twice voted in the assembly to legalize gay marriage." The Conservative Party nominee, Doug Hoffman is gaining surprising traction, as the reporter points out: "A John McLaughlin poll, still closely held by the campaign, shows that Hoffman has every chance of winning the seat. In the 23rd district (which went by a narrow margin to Obama last year), 56 percent of likely voters said they wanted to elect a conservative Republican to succeed McHugh. Only 24 percent said they would vote for a Democrat. A minuscule 8 percent said they wanted a liberal Republican."

Stay tuned. A fight is developing: Will a pro-marriage Democrat beat back the liberal Republican in a solid GOP district--showing the national GOP that abandoning your vote is no pathway to victory? Or will Doug Hoffman emerge as the next James Buckley--riding the Conservative Party nomination all the way to win a seat in the U.S. Congress?

Thank you for the thousands of calls that have already made a difference. You are the reason we exist: to be your voice for our values. Alone they can try to intidimate us, but together we can make a difference! We need your donations--whether you can spare $15 or $500, or anything in between--but we also need your prayers, and your willingness to speak out.

In New Jersey, the Asbury Park Press had a brilliant idea on how to resolve the marriage issue: take it to the people! "Gay marriage: Put it on the ballot," announces the Sept. 8 editorial (read more below):

The Legislature is expected to debate a bill that would allow gay marriage after the Nov. 3 election. And it could become a major campaign issue in the gubernatorial and Assembly races.

GOP candidate Chris Christie says he supports New Jersey's current law allowing same-sex couples to form civil unions but would veto any bill legalizing same-sex marriage. Corzine, who as recently as 2006 said he believed marriage should be between a man and a woman, now says he supports gay marriage.

Radio, TV and print ads will likely ask people to contact their legislators and voice their opinion. Lawmakers should let those opinions be expressed on a referendum ballot.

The Asbury Park editorial concludes, "The issue should be fully aired and debated. Then it should be left to the voters to decide the matter."

Power to the people! Now there's a radical idea for New Jersey we can all support.

I hope you had a chance to enjoy Labor Day weekend. As the schools open, please pay attention to what your children are being taught about your moral views. And let me know if you hear anything. Together we can fight back!

Keep fighting the good fight, and God bless you,

Brian BrownBrian S. Brown
Executive Director
National Organization for Marriage
20 Nassau Street, Suite 242
Princeton, NJ 08542
[email protected]

 NOM PAC New York News

"Governor Paterson Aims to Push Bill on Gay Marriage During Special Session"
New York Daily News
Glenn Blain
September 5, 2009
ALBANY - -Gay marriage will be on the state Senate's agenda as early as this month if Gov. Paterson gets his way.

In an interview with the Advocate, Paterson said he intends to put the bill legalizing same-sex marriage on the agenda when he calls the Legislature back into session to deal with the state's $2.1 billion budget deficit.

"I am anticipating a special session and I am anticipating this is one of the issues that we will address," Paterson told the gay and lesbian magazine.

A date for the special session has not been set but most lawmakers expect it to be held later this month or in early October.

Paterson spokeswoman Marissa Shorenstein confirmed that the governor intends to place the bill on the session's agenda.

Under state law, Paterson sets the agenda for any special session he calls but he cannot force lawmakers to vote on legislation. They can simply table whatever measures they don't like.

The Assembly passed a bill legalizing same-sex marriage in May, but its fate in the Democrat-controlled Senate remains uncertain.

A handful of conservative Democratic senators and most Republicans oppose it.

Senate President Malcolm Smith (D-Queens) is a supporter of the bill but does not want to bring it up for a vote until it has enough support to pass.

"Our position hasn't changed," Smith spokesman Austin Shafran said Friday. "We are supportive of the legislation but there is no indication that there are enough votes to pass it."

"The James Buckley Scenario"
The Weekly Standard
New York's 23rd could elect a conservative. But the GOP hasn't nominated one.
by Kenneth Tomlinson 
September 14, 2009 
 
A couple of weeks ago, political handicapper Charlie Cook alerted his subscribers that "the situation for President Obama and congressional Democrats has slipped completely out of control." Politico asserted the Cook Political Report special "should send shivers down Democratic spines."

This makes the coming special election in New York's 23rd Congressional District an important national bellwether as voters select a successor to Republican representative John McHugh, who is Obama's nominee to be secretary of the Army.

Geographically, the North Country district is one of the largest in the East, ranging from Plattsburgh on Lake Champlain over the Adirondacks to Watertown and Oswego on Lake Ontario. Population centers are scattered in five major media markets. The district twice gave narrow margins to Bush, but last year went for Obama. If Democrats face an implosion in 2010, this sort of Middle America district is precisely where that shift will manifest itself, and both national political congressional committees are mobilizing for what appears to be a major political struggle.

The White House may have chosen McHugh for the Army post because political strategists believed they could win this district. And in a page out of Rahm Emanuel's playbook, Democrats have nominated Bill Owens, a Plattsburgh lawyer whose late law partner was a Republican state senator and who himself was a registered Independent.

The giant New York service employees union (SEIU) is lining up behind Owens because a spokesman says the union "expects" Bill Owens to "work with President Obama on health care reform." Owens's positions on topics like national health care have been nuanced, but he has pledged support for "card check," which would eliminate workers' right to vote by secret ballot on whether or not to unionize.

SEIU support is important because in the recent special election in the neighboring 20th Congressional District, the union outspent even the Democratic party to provide an upset victory to an unknown Democrat over the Republican state assembly minority leader. At one point in the campaign the Republican could not even decide whether he was for or against the Obama stimulus package.

And what are Republicans doing in the 23rd? Upstate GOP bosses (county chairmen) met behind closed doors to nominate veteran assemblywoman Dede Scozzafava of Watertown, whose record qualifies her as the most liberal Republican congressional candidate in memory. She is pro-card check, pro-abortion, and twice voted in the assembly to legalize gay marriage. She repeatedly has won the endorsement of the ACORN-backed Working Families party, sharing that party's ballot with John Kerry in 2004 and Obama last year.

In her official assembly biography, she lists herself as chief operating officer of her family-owned corporation. But now that the firm is in trouble, facing state and federal tax liens, the local press reports she says "she has nothing to do" with the company. Meanwhile, her husband is the regional president of the AFL-CIO.

National Republican leaders have been bombarded by conservative activists to force the pull back of Scozzafava's nomination. To date the National Republican Campaign Committee is stubbornly sticking with her.

But there are developments in the 23rd that may make both political party machines irrelevant.

Doug Hoffman, a native of Saranac Lake, is a self-made successful businessman and accountant with offices throughout the district. A lifelong Republican, he had never thought of becoming a political candidate. The closest he had ever been to political power was shaking hands last year with New York governor David Paterson, who was awarding a medal of heroism to Hoffman's state trooper son, shot while successfully capturing a wanted criminal.

Hoffman and his wife and children have always spent their spare time outdoors. They are skiers. (Another son was one of the youngest ever to make the U.S. ski team.) Together the family has climbed 40 of the 46 peaks in the Adirondacks.

But something happened to Hoffman as he watched the special election in the neighboring 20th District. To Hoffman, the performance of the candidates perfectly exemplified the failure of national business and political leadership in America.

So when Republican chairmen announced they would select someone to run for the McHugh seat, Hoffman declared his candidacy. "If ever there was a time when we need people in Congress who can read a balance sheet, it is now," says Hoffman.

Like nine other candidates, he met with the party bosses behind closed doors to make the case for his candidacy. He learned of the Scozzafava nomination through a party press release.

In the days that followed, Hoffman was shocked to learn of Scozzafava's positions in press reports about the coming race. He called friends who put him in touch with conservative leaders, and a meeting was arranged with New York Conservative party chairman Mike Long who was in Lake Placid to watch his own son, a New York City fireman, run in the Iron Man Triathlon.

"I met [Hoffman] early in the morning," Long recalls. "I was struck by his honesty and his refreshing grasp of the issues. I didn't know they made people like this any more. I didn't try to talk him into running, but I sure didn't try to talk him out of it."

Driving back to his hotel after the meeting, Long thought to himself, "That man has a shot at being another Jim Buckley." In 1970 Buckley was elected to the U.S. Senate on the Conservative party line against two liberals, a Republican and a Democrat.

Hoffman's campaign is winning surprising respect. Reports Brian Mann on National Public Radio's North Country website: "Hoffman also brings a lot of personal wealth to the race; that's a big deal in politics. My sense is that he could serve as a spoiler in this race.  .  .  .  But I also think there is a legitimate, if still remote, chance that Hoffman could win."

When the Adirondack Daily Enterprise asked readers to cast votes on its website, the result was Hoffman 58 percent, Owens 23 percent, and Scozzafava 19 percent. The survey was obviously not scientific, and the Adirondacks are Hoffman's home territory, but when he tells you his life's story, it is easy to see why those who know him are so very much for him.

He and his four siblings were raised by a single mother. By age 8 he was delivering papers to help his mother pay the bills. He started pumping gas at 14. By the time he finished high school, he was a master mechanic.

He finished at the top of his high school class, but there was no family money for college. A group of local civic leaders believed in him--and raised scholarship money for him. He graduated from SUNY Plattsburgh in 1973 with a degree in accounting.

He joined the Army reserves, got married, started a family, and went to work for Price Waterhouse. Meanwhile, he earned an MBA in finance and accounting from the University of Connecticut.

In 1977, he moved his family back to the North Country for a new job as assistant controller for the Lake Placid 1980 Olympic Organizing Committee. His first day on the job his boss quit, and at 27 he assumed the position as corporate controller, eventually overseeing a budget of $150 million and 2,500 employees as well as 6,000 volunteers.

Today, the accounting firm he heads has six offices. The Hoffman Family Enterprises he owns with his children runs a diverse group of small businesses, from construction to auto service to hospitality and tourism. His list of civic leadership positions is vast.

Mike Long is pleading with national Republican leaders to push aside Assemblywoman Scozzafava and give the GOP nomination to Hoffman. Says Long: "She symbolizes the tax-and-spend-and-earmark philo-sophy that has so decimated the Republican party in Congress. On the other hand, if Owens wins, it will be a huge victory for the discredited Obama White House."

If Republicans do not accept Hoffman as their candidate, state and national conservative movement leaders have an enormous stake in what happens in the 23rd. Despite Hoffman's pledge to put in at least $250,000 of his own money, fundraising for the Hoffman campaign will prove a real test of the strength of conservatives nationally. National parties can be counted on to pour huge resources into the district for the election. Can conservatives match these donations? The answer may tell us a great deal about the future of American politics. After all, Jim Buckley's Senate victory helped build conservative political credibility and was a direct forerunner to the Reagan movement.

McHugh is expected to be confirmed when Congress returns in September. Governor Paterson probably will set the special election for November 3, when only local races will be on the ballot.

A John McLaughlin poll, still closely held by the campaign, shows that Hoffman has every chance of winning the seat. In the 23rd district (which went by a narrow margin to Obama last year), 56 percent of likely voters said they wanted to elect a conservative Republican to succeed McHugh. Only 24 percent said they would vote for a Democrat. A minuscule 8 percent said they wanted a liberal Republican. The North Country is a spectacular place to be in late summer and early fall when the beauty of the region is unimaginable. This year the North Country will be a colorful arena for politics as well.

--Kenneth Tomlinson is a former editor in chief of Reader's Digest."Gay Marriage: Put It on the Ballot"
Asbury Park Press editorial
September 8, 2009

 

Brace yourself, folks, for what is likely to be a steady barrage of ads this fall both opposing and supporting gay marriage.

The Legislature is expected to debate a bill that would allow gay marriage after the Nov. 3 election. And it could become a major campaign issue in the gubernatorial and Assembly races.

GOP candidate Chris Christie says he supports New Jersey's current law allowing same-sex couples to form civil unions but would veto any bill legalizing same-sex marriage. Corzine, who as recently as 2006 said he believed marriage should be between a man and a woman, now says he supports gay marriage.

Radio, TV and print ads will likely ask people to contact their legislators and voice their opinion. Lawmakers should let those opinions be expressed on a referendum ballot. At the same time, they should work to close any remaining loopholes in the state's civil-union law that prevent some same-sex couples from enjoying the same benefits as married heterosexual couples. Any companies, individuals or entities found flouting the law should be held accountable.

Church and activist groups are gearing up to reach out to their memberships and begin campaigns to encourage their legislators to support their positions on gay marriage, which is expected to be debated in the lame-duck period following the election.

In 2006, the state Supreme Court ruled gay couples deserved the same rights as married couples, prompting the Legislature to make New Jersey the third state to offer civil unions to give gay couples the same legal benefits, but not the title of marriage. But some gay couples have not received equal treatment.

Gay couples who have taken the legal steps of a civil union should be accorded the same rights -- all of them -- as married couples, including the sharing of benefits and decision-making rights on financial, medical and other matters. Whether to call it a "marriage" continues to be a hot topic of debate across the nation. In Maine, a law passed earlier this year allowing gay marriage is being challenged in a constitutional amendment expected to go to a public vote in November.

The issue should be fully aired and debated. Then it should be left to the voters to decide the matter. 

©2009 National Organization for Marriage.

Copyright 2009