More good news on the NY marriage equality front:
First: Paterson introduces a gay-marriage bill.
Second: Word that Republicans will be allowed to “vote their conscience.”
Now: My home-city newspaper has come out in support of marriage equality!
The editorial, from the heart of the state, calls marriage equality “a civil right” and draws considerable strength from the lies and fear-mongering of the recently launched National Organization for Marriage.
The National Organization for Marriage says the best argument against gay marriage is that “gays and lesbians have a right to live as they choose; they don’t have the right to redefine marriage for all of us.”
That reasoning has many happily married heterosexuals scratching their heads. How, exactly, would granting gays the right to marry adversely affect heterosexual couples? How would it weaken families?
Arguments against gay marriage tend to be based on religious beliefs that marriage is a sacred rite intended solely for a man and a woman. But the legislation proposed by Gov. David Paterson would legalize gay and lesbian participation in civil marriages, not religious ceremonies. The bill specifically states that “no member of the clergy may be compelled to perform any marriage ceremony.”
Likewise, the organization declares on its Web site that gay marriage would result in children being taught that “one-half of humanity — either mothers or fathers — are dispensable, unimportant. … Children are confused enough right now with sexual messages. Let’s not confuse them further.”
The argument is a shameless scare tactic. If anything, legalizing same-sex marriage would provide children with a clearer understanding of — and a greater tolerance for — the immutable fact that some people have different sexual orientations than others.
While New York State as a whole votes reliably Democrat in Presidential elections, many of Upstate’s counties lean Republican. Onondaga County, home to Syracuse, went 58.5% Obama and 39.8% McCain in the 2008 election but its more rural neighbor, Madison County, where I’m from, went to McCain by a hair: 49.4% McCain and 48.5% Obama. (Full map.)
In related news, Paterson recently reversed course and said that instead of supporting the bill for an immediate vote – regardless of its chance for passage – he will defer to State Senate Majority Leader Malcolm Smith to introduce the bill only when its passage can be secured.
While this strategy has obvious advantages, I think I sit in the minority opinion when I say that any action is better than no action. Plus, I’m not sure I want to rely on the “most dysfunctional legislature in the nation” to choose when to provide me my marriage rights.