Monthly Archives: June 2011

AP on NOM's Efforts to Oust NY Senators Who Flipped

The AP covers our newly-launched campaign:

A group that opposes gay marriage says it will spend at least $2 million to oust seven New York state senators who changed their positions on gay marriage.

The Washington-based National Organization for Marriage says in an email to supporters that it is committed to helping elect majorities in 2012 that support marriage as being between only a man and a woman.

President Brian Brown says his group also wants to ensure the Senate Republicans who broke party ranks "understand that voting for gay marriage has consequences."

The four Republicans and three Democrats who changed their votes were key in last week's decision making New York the sixth state to legalize same-sex marriage.

The group's solicitation shows photographs of the seven senators.

Boston Globe Columnist: Marriage Cannot Be Redefined

Jeff Jacoby writes in the Boston Globe in the wake of New York's attempt to redefine marriage:

When the Supreme Court ruled in June 1967 that Virginia’s law penalizing interracial marriage could not stand, it was not changing the fundamental and enduring meaning of marriage: It was affirming it. It was upholding the integrity of marriage by protecting it from irrelevant — and unconstitutional — racial manipulation. Virginia had interfered with the core elements of marriage in order to promote white supremacy, a value completely alien to marriage. Marriage is designed to bring men and women together; anti-miscegenation laws frustrated that design, and could not stand.

Same-sex marriage, too, interferes with the core elements of wedlock in order to advance an unrelated goal — the dignity and equality of gays and lesbians. The fact that many decent people ardently embrace that goal doesn’t change reality: The essential, public purpose of marriage is to unite male and female — to bind men and women to each other and to the children that their sexual behavior may produce. It is rooted in the belief that every child needs a mother and a father. Gay marriage, whether enacted by lawmakers or imposed by judges, disconnects marriage from its most basic idea. Ultimately, that isn’t tenable either.

The old laws banning interracial marriage had a long run but they eventually collapsed. The new laws in New York and some other states authorizing same-sex marriage may be destined for a long run as well, but I suspect they too will likely eventually collapse. Marriage — male-female marriage — is indispensable to human welfare. That is why it has existed in virtually every known human society. And why it cannot be permanently redefined.

The Grisanti Flip Flop Continues

In an interview with the Buffalo News, after flip-flopping on marriage, NY Sen. Mark Grisanti refuses to rule out running as a Democrat (again reversing himself). Does ambition have no limits?

Three days after his historic vote to legalize same-sex marriage in New York, State Sen. Mark J. Grisanti defended his action on the home front Monday while absorbing a series of political body blows from furious Republican and Conservative leaders.

The Buffalo Republican, whose underdog victory last November swung control of the Senate to the GOP, also would not rule out running as a Democrat when he faces the voters again in 2012, backing off on a blanket rejection of such a move that he made after the Friday vote.

The Pope Tweets!

Via Newser, techie news with a religious twist:

Catholicism has come into the 21st century: Pope Benedict tweeted for the first time today. "Dear Friends, I just launched Praised be our Lord Jesus Christ! With my prayers and blessings, Benedictus XVI," he posted, referring to a new Vatican news portal. Even more impressive, the 84-year-old pontiff put the site online himself via iPad, the AP reports. He sent the tweet shortly thereafter.

The new portal—not to mention the Twitter account—is the Vatican's latest effort to evangelize to the new generation, and the pope is "clearly in awe at the new technology" and also "clearly enjoying it," says an official.

Video: NJ Gov. Christie Says He Will Never Sign Gay Marriage Bill

On Meet the Press this Sunday with David Gregory:

RI Gay Activists Urge Governor Chafee to Veto CU Bill if it has Religious Liberties Language

ProJo reports on gay activists once again refusing to allow religious liberty language:

Calling a bill that would legalize same-sex civil unions “onerous and discriminatory,” more than a half-dozen gay advocacy groups called on Governor Chafee Tuesday to veto the legislation if it passes with language that was added to protect religious organizations and their employees.

... While gay-marriage advocates say the protections go further than those in any other state, groups such as the Rhode Island chapter of the National Organization for Marriage say they do not go far enough.

Follow the latest developments in Rhode Island on the NOM-RI website.

Maggie Gallagher in USA Today: Gay Marriage is Not an Increase in Liberty

NOM Chairman Maggie Gallagher challenges USA Today's editorial board to confront the key issues they're missing in the marriage debate:

USA TODAY's Editorial Board is bending over backwards to find a way of engaging the marriage debate that escapes the key question: Is there a reason why marriage is the union of husband and wife, not only in our culture, but in almost every known human society?

Here's our answer to the evaded question: Marriage is rooted in real differences between same-sex and opposite-sex unions. Only a union of husband and wife can make new life, and connect those children in love to their mother and father. Society — and government — have a unique interest in promoting marriage to further this goal.

Abraham Lincoln once famously asked, "If you call a tail a leg, how many legs does a dog have?" Four, he answered, because a tail is not a leg, even if you call it one. [Continue reading...]

Sen. Alesi Pleads, Amidst Celebrities and Champagne, "There Has to be Room in the GOP for People Like Me"

In the New York morning roundup from City Hall and The Capitol:

Sen. James Alesi, the first Republican senator to support same-sex marriage, won't switch parties for next year's election. "There has to be room in the party for people like me," he said at the Human Rights Campaign's celebration last night full of politicians and celebrities. Supporters said after same-sex marriage passed, they went to the governor's mansion and drank champagne from real glasses, not paper cups. HRC's next target after their New York victory: Maryland.

Reversing SSM in New York: The Campaign Begins

Reverse SSM in New York

What can you do to restore marriage in New York?

The secretive, "emergency" process by which same-sex marriage was brought to New York last Friday night has left many outraged—even some supporters of same-sex marriage. It also made one thing abundantly clear: in order to change policy on marriage, we're going to have to change personnel in Albany—starting with the turncoat senators who made promises their constituents on marriage and then voted the opposite way.

We've committed to spending at least $2 million to elect pro-marriage majorities in the 2012 elections. But in order to do that we need your help. We'll have much more to share in the days ahead, but today, the single most important thing you can do is to make a generous contribution to NOM PAC NY. Will you stand with us today?

Like you, we're incredibly disappointed—and frustrated—at both the procedure and especially the outcome in New York last week. I still find it unfathomable that Republicans thought they would benefit from handing Governor Cuomo a victory that his own party couldn't achieve when they were in the majority.

The ugly details of the process by which same-sex marriage came to New York is still coming to light. Here's how the Gotham Gazette describes it:

Essentially the Senate rules were changed in a backroom agreement before session started and then changed again during the vote to make sure it would be concluded to make the 11 p.m. newscasts.

Sen. Kevin Parker, a long time proponent of same-sex marriage, was informed by Senate staff that he would not be able to explain his vote. He was livid. He cursed out the governor and eventually stormed to the podium where Duffy was presiding—a number of other Democratic senators followed him, seemingly to calm him down.

Earlier when Sen. Ruben Diaz tried to lay the marriage bill aside he was ignored. Normal Senate procedure allows for any senator to lay a bill aside for debate. It gives legislators a chance to debate the bill then when they vote, they again have the chance to explain their vote. But the rules weren't the same. . . .

After realizing he would not be allowed to speak despite his protests, Parker tried to leave the floor. The door he tried to exit was locked. Earlier Duffy had asked the crowd not to leave the chamber during the vote. Cuomo's people—staff and security—had been in and out of the side door locking and unlocking it all during the debate. At one point a man wearing an ear piece emerged and surveyed the route Cuomo would take. When Parker tried to leave the door was locked again.

"I go to the door, and I tried to leave, and they had us locked in. I tried to leave, and they had us locked on to the floor," Parker said. Finally he made it out of the chamber. "One sergeant of arms physically grabbed me. I was appalled. I'm a senator." Parker then made his way through an ante chamber. "A plain clothes cop and secretary tried to close the door again," he explains, trying to block his exit. "I've never seen a member treated in such a manner. I've never seen white member treated that way," Parker, who is black, said. He was again also confronted by another sergeant of arms.

The bill was declared an emergency—allowing them to introduce new religious liberty language just hours before the vote, instead of the usual 3 days. The rules were changed again while the vote was taking place—and even senators treated shamefully, essentially locked on the floor of the Senate—and why? So Governor Cuomo could make the 11 o'clock news.

It's high time for change in Albany.

A constitutional amendment in New York requires approval from the legislature in two successive legislatures—and does not require the governor's signature—before going to the voters for final approval.

We're putting together a 4-year campaign strategy that will reverse same-sex marriage in New York. We'll have many more details, and ways for you to get involved, in the days ahead but the overall plan will have three phases:

Elect pro-marriage majorities next November that will approve a marriage amendment in both the Assembly and Senate during the 2013 legislative session.

Protect pro-marriage candidates in the 2014 elections, so that the amendment can receive final legislative approval in the 2015 legislative session.

Successfully pass the ballot measure when it goes before voters in November 2015.

A 4-year process seems like a long time—and it is—but it's achievable. In New Hampshire and Iowa, they've had same-sex marriage for just 2 years, but are already well on the way to reversal. The key to success is electing legislative majorities who will answer to the people of their state, and not to special interests.

Tim Gill, the Human Rights Campaign and their allies are already promising millions to defend Republican senators who voted for same-sex marriage. But we've successfully defeated every pro-ssm Republican we've ever targeted, and I'm convinced we can do so again. We don't have to match Tim Gill dollar for dollar—but we do need resources to make sure voters remember how they were betrayed on marriage. Republican primary voters are strongly pro-marriage, and don't take kindly to politicians who say one thing and then do another.

Will you stand with us today? Your gift of $49, $99, or even $999 or more, will be the first step toward reclaiming New York from the special interests and backroom deals that resulted in same-sex marriage last Friday night. Give a gift for marriage, for transparency, and for New Yorkers' right to vote!

Then stay tuned for more to come in the days ahead—and tell your friends to join us as we launch this campaign to reclaim marriage in New York!

Breaking News: Activists Concede the NJ Legislature, Announce They're Back to Court-Imposed Gay Marriage

Just in via press release:

"Lambda Legal to Announce Marriage Equality Lawsuit with Garden State Equality on Wednesday at 10:00 am."

Religious Groups Worry About Exemptions in NY SSM Bill

WNYC Radio reports:

Opponents of same-sex marriage who saw the legislation signed into law over the weekend are worried the religious exemptions that allow groups to opt out of holding gay weddings aren't extensive enough.

"There are profound consequences for re-defining marriage," said Brian Brown of the National Organization for Marriage, which has pledged to overturn the law. "And this religious liberty exemption in my view does relatively little or nothing to protect such organizations and individuals."

Rabbi Avi Shafran of the Jewish organization Agudath Israel, said he was concerned about denying same-sex employees health care benefits for their partners.

"If we were to stand on our religious principles, which we would do, and not extend benefits because we don't recognize the union as a marriage, then the state could say that funds ... would be denied us because we are not subscribing to what the state considers to be proper marriages," Shafran said.

He said he was also concerned that businesses such as wedding caterers or florists would be sued because they didn't want to provide service to a gay or lesbian couple.

"Why should individuals be less entitled to religious liberty than organizations?" Shafran asked. "That's the logical problem here -- that what was given to organizations was not given to individuals, and there's no logical reason why that should be the case."

First Casualty of SSM: NY Clerk Refuses to Sign Same-Sex Marriage Licenses

Less than a week since New York passed a same-sex marriage law, the first person to get on the wrong side of the new law comes forward:

New York’s gay weddings victory lap has not extended to all parts of the Empire State, with a rural town clerk determined to not sign any same-sex marriage licenses.

Barbara MacEwen, the town clerk in upstate Volney who is responsible for signing marriage licenses in the town, said she’s morally opposed to same-sex weddings and does not intend to affix her signature to any marriage documents for gay or lesbian couples.

“If there’s any possible way to not do it, legally, then yes, I would not want to put my name on any of those certificates or papers,” MacEwen told POLITICO. “That’s their life, they can do it, but I don’t feel I should be forced into something that’s against my morals and my God.”

MacEwen said she’s written her state senator – Republican Patty Ritchie, who voted against legalizing gay weddings – to determine her legal options. --Politico

Prof. Robert George on Losing Marriage to Sexual Liberalism

NOM founding Chairman Prof. Robert George has an extensive interview with Kathryn Lopez today in National Review reacting to the news in New York:

New York is obviously one of the most socially liberal states in the Union. There are, to be sure, many New Yorkers who reject sexual-liberationist ideology and believe in true marriage, which is why pro-marriage forces in the state were able to put up quite a fight, but they are not well-represented in the elite sector of society and at the moment they lack the powerful political leadership one finds on the other side. There is no Chris Christie at the helm in New York. Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the state’s two most powerful and influential politicians, plainly buy much, if not all, of the ideology of sexual liberalism and publicly lead their lives in accordance with it.

Although they claim to be supporters of marriage who merely want to “expand” the institution (or expand “access” to the institution) out of respect for what they regard as the civil rights of people to have their romantic partnerships (whatever their shape) recognized and legitimated by the state, both are reported by New York media to openly cohabit with women with whom they are not married. They do this not in defiance of their stated beliefs about sexual morality and marriage, but in line with those beliefs. Neither supposes that he and his mistress are setting a bad example for children or undermining the public’s faith in important marital norms.

As orthodox sexual liberals, neither the governor nor the mayor believes in a conception of marriage in which marriage is normative for sexual partnering; indeed, neither believes in norms of sexual morality as traditionally conceived, even apart from any question about same-sex partnerships. Both regard “civil marriage” as nothing more than the legal blessing of romantic partnerships, and neither gives any indication of ever having remotely considered an alternative view. Both have so thoroughly absorbed the premises of sexual liberal ideology that the possibility of an alternative doesn’t cross their minds. For them, it is all a matter of “us urbane, sophisticated, tolerant, open-minded, defenders of civil rights, against those ignorant, intolerant, hateful homophobes.”

USA Today Surveys Religious Liberty Consequences of NY SSM

Cathy Lynn Grossman quotes two sources explaining the significant religious liberty concerns posed by New York's same-sex marriage bill:

Baptist Press spells out the fears of the faithful in an interview with Alliance Defense Fund attorney Austin R. Nimocks who says the religious protection written in the N.Y. law is inadequate:
It does not protect individuals. It does not protect private business owners. It does not protect, for example, a bed and breakfast owner who is using their own private personal property in the type of intimate setting that a bed and breakfast is. It does not protect licensed professionals. For example, it does not protect counselors. It also does not protect lawyers -- you may have a family law attorney who does not want to do a same-sex divorce because of their deeply held religious beliefs. It does not protect fertility doctors who may have a strict belief and only want to help [heterosexual] married couples because they believe a kid deserves both a mom and a dad.
This is echoed in Get Religion media critic Mollie Hemingway's focus on concerns of traditionalist faithful [...] Hemingway wonders:
Will same-sex marriage laws impact the rights of religious organizations to place children for adoption as they see fit? What about Lutheran parochial schools that have faced civil rights lawsuits over their honor code? Will Muslim doctors have the right to refuse to do in vitro fertilization treatment on a woman in a lesbian marriage? Will an evangelical referring a patient to someone without religious qualms over same-sex marriage lose her job or license? What about the civil servants who have religious objections to same-sex marriage? Apart from wedding vendors, there are all sorts of other lines of work where individual religious liberty and religiously-motivated objections to same-sex marriage where the questions persist. What about adoption services, for instance? How might public school curriculum change? Will that pose a challenge for any public school teachers who are Muslim, Jewish or Christian?

Video of Maggie Gallagher on PBS News Hour: "This Isn't Over"

Note for the sheltered: there is some suprisingly frank footage (for PBS) of the gay pride parade in New York  celebrating the victory before the interview with Maggie begins.