Catholic, evangelical lobbyists reject NYS recognition of outside gay marriages

Neither the NYS Catholic Conference nor the evangelical New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms is happy that New York state will now recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states or countries.

A May 14 memo from Gov. Patterson tells state agencies to take the big step.

1163e6dbcbc24a4faf63bc36a88a66c8.jpgSen. Majority Leader Joe Bruno (that’s him) said today he was surprised to learn of the policy change.

The NYS Supreme Court has held that gay marriage in NY can only be legalized by the Legislature. But a lower court ruled earlier this year that state law does not stop the recognition of marriages performed elsewhere.

Earlier this month, the California Supreme Court legalized gay marriage in that state.

New York State Catholic Conference Executive Director Richard E. Barnes says:

The administrative action by Gov. Paterson compelling all state agencies to recognize same-sex ‘marriages’ performed in other states is an unwelcome bypassing of the state legislature. Unfortunately, this unilateral move without legislative input is not in keeping with Mr. Paterson’s promises upon taking office of a collaborative and bipartisan governing style.

As we have said many times, the definition of marriage pre-dates recorded history. No single politician or court or legislature should attempt to redefine the very building block of our society in a way that alters its entire meaning and purpose. The state has a compelling interest in holding up marriage between one man and one woman as the societal model. What our biblical ancestors knew instinctively holds true today: Marriage between a man and a woman is the best way to assure the stable rearing of children and the flourishing of society. It should not be treated as simply one more lifestyle choice, equal to any other, because it is not.

Homosexual men and women must be treated with dignity by all. In cases where unjust discrimination occurs, it must be remedied. However, just as the state cannot declare a man to be a ‘mother’ or a woman to be a ‘father,’ it can not declare a same-sex union to be a ‘marriage.’ To use a distinctly New York expression, ‘It is what it is.’ ”

A press release sent out this afternoon by New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms — which claims to be the state’s only “full-time Christian lobbying organization” — says:

According to the Word of God, marriage is and always will be the union of a man and a woman. Since God created marriage, only He has the authority to change it.

The Governor’s decree is a violation of the New York State Domestic Relations Law, the New York State Constitution, and the Word of God.

NYCF and the thousands of evangelical churches that it represents call on the Legislature to do what it should have done years ago: pass a DEFENSE OF MARRIAGE ACT. Forty-four other states have done so since the Federal Defense of Marriage Act was passed in 1996. It is time for the New York State Legislature to awaken and protect marriage before it is too late.

Gary Stern

Gary Stern covered education in the Lower Hudson Valley for several years during the early 1990s. Now's he back on the beat. He believes that schools are one of the main reasons that people live around here and that educational issues -- from curriculum to financing -- are among the most challenging things that journalists can write about. He continues to be amazed by the complexity of educational jargon. Gary got his B.A. at SUNY Buffalo and his M.A. from the University of Missouri Journalism School (where his master's thesis was about the best ways to cover education). He lives in White Plains with his wife and two sons, who attend public schools.