Streams

Crunchtime in Albany: Gay Marriage II

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Michael Lavers, Mid-Atlantic editor for EDGE Publications, an online LGBT Newspaper, talks about the how the leadership changes in Albany will affect gay marriage legislation.

Guests:

Michael Lavers

Comments [27]

Hrag from New York, NY

I am very glad you continue to follow this issue. I hope this bill passes ASAP.

Jun. 10 2009 11:45 PM
eva

Let's be frank - there are similarly poor conditions in parts of many American cities and towns, but they don't warrant that particular denigration from you.

And again, some of those places you described as "3rd world cr%p holes" have lower rates of infant mortality than does NYC.

Perhaps as a taxpayer who supports the penal system in New York, you should do some research on the injustices paid for by your tax dollar, rather than referring, in a generalized manner, to poorer countries as "3rd world cr*p holes." The prison-industrial complex isn't limited to the State of California.

And bear in mind that some of those poorer countries that people are immigrating from may actually provide better health care than does our country. Which may explain why so many Americans are taking medical vacations to countries like Mexico and Costa Rica.

And as someone who wants to further the cause of gay marriage, you may want to take a good look at some of your own prejudices, before you call others out on theirs. I'm sure Andrew Sullivan, who argues so cogently and compassionately for gay marriage - as well as on far more serious human rights issues - would agree with me on that point.

"If one cannot afford the personal responsibility part of the deal in addition to their civic one, they shouldn’t have children."

I grew up with a kid whose parents couldn't afford all - or sometimes any - of the niceties. Many times my classmate couldn't even afford time to do homework because like many immigrant children, he had to work to help support the family - he was only 11 or 12 at the time he was working. But he and his four sisters all made it into Harvard, and they did so because there was a good deal of government help - e.g., food stamps and other welfare - via my parents and other taxpayers. I'm happy to help out families who have less than I do, even knowing that not all of them will make it into Harvard, or even state college.

Jun. 10 2009 07:44 PM
Voter from Brooklyn

When some citizens are reduced to combing trash heaps for basic sustenance, what would you call it? When clean air to breath or water to drink are luxuries, what would you call it? When the only free speech is agreeing with dictatorial regimes, what would you call it? My comment wasn’t on the quality of the people, but the quality of the places they come from and their motivation to have an American baby so they can stay in this country.

On children… Civic responsibilities are separate from personal responsibilities. Don’t buy a car and complain about the cost of gas and carwashes, don’t get a pet and complain about the cost of pet food and vet bills, don’t buy wall to wall carpeting and complain about the cost of a vacuum and the time it takes. Everyone should contribute to public education. The cost of pencils, paper, book bags, and school clothes are the responsibility of the parents. The cost of schools buildings, books, and teachers should be shared. If one cannot afford the personal responsibility part of the deal in addition to their civic one, they shouldn’t have children.

The prison issue… The United States has a troubled criminal justice system. A disproportionate number of inmates are Black like me and Americans by birth, not from third world nations. That acknowledged, I mentioned before that I do not know enough about the California penal system to comment on your post from yesterday.

Jun. 10 2009 06:03 PM
eva

3rd world cr#p hole? Sounds like Ben isn't the only person who thinks that some people are lesser. Ironically, you've revealed some of the bias that underlay and defeated the anti-Prop 8 campaign.

FWIW, some of those places have lower rates of infant mortality than does NYC.

"tax breaks create a discount for parents of school-aged children"

not if you do the math on what it actually costs to raise a child - even without private education.

As for human rights, you'll probably never convince me (or your great-great-great-grandparents, were they living) that the fight for marriage equality is a fight for human rights, as it is popularly understood. Were you talking about employment discrimination against gays, then yes.

On the other hand, we have genuine humans rights violations occurring on a second-by-second basis to unpopular and unfavored minorities in U.S. prisons, and in U.S. detention centers. That, however, seems rather low priority to you. Possibly because so many of those people come from "3rd world cr#pholes" as you so eloquently put it.

Jun. 10 2009 05:41 PM
Voter from Brooklyn

Eva,
PC talk led to obfuscation in my response. I’ll be frank.
Americans make more bastard children than nearly any other country, especially from teenagers, and the number has been trending up for decades. Also, babies are Babies whether they are coming from the poor and uneducated or from immigrants looking for a ticket out of the 3rd world crap hole they came from. In this country, since these babies are supposedly equal to babies from the rich, white, or educated I’m not going to discriminate.
Please re-read what I said on education. I am a product of public education, I support public education and I have absolutely no problems with my tax dollars going to educating the children of others (it is a civic duty), but tax breaks create a discount for parents of school-aged children. People with school-aged children should pay the same that people without children and people who have raised their children pay. That would be fair.
And the reason I mentioned familial history was for perspective. Though I feel the issue is best argued as a Constitutional one, it is also a human rights issue, because if you listen to voices like Ben’s, what they are really saying is that LGBT people are lesser people and lesser citizens. Evangelicals will go even further. The problem they have with so called “gay marriage” and even same-sex civil unions is that it would be government recognition of equality. The anger over this issue is the same anger when African slaves were considered people, then citizens, then equal.

Jun. 10 2009 05:25 PM
eva

Voter:

"We have both birth control and one of the most spectacular rates of childbirth outside of committed relationships in the world."

Can you define committed relationship?

Bear in mind that that "spectacular rate" is not across the board. Birth rates for whites and Asians are falling. Birth rates for women with higher education levels are falling on a relative basis. And the "spectacular" rate owes a great deal to recent immigrants who may not have time or money to knowledge to seek out birth control. Like so many earlier generations of immigrants, they do, however, provide cheap labor which makes your lifestyle far more affordable.

Obviously, the point of providing taxpayer funded education is NOT to encourage higher birth rates, but to ensure that children who are inevitably going to keep being born have a modicum of basic tools with which to survive.

"I support public education, but without full restoration of taxes to people in marriages and people with dependents, the childless and or singles pay more to educate those children than the people who made them."

You seem to posit that if you don't have children, you have no interest in the next generation, and accrue no benefit from them. Nothing could be further from the truth. Whether they are the nurses and doctors tending you in your old age, or the bus driver who gets you to your destination when you are too old to drive, you will depend on the next generation for your SURVIVAL.

We also benefit from those children growing up to be taxpaying citizens who support the system when we ourselves are too aged to contribute.

Don't remain in denial of your own eventual needs.

Lastly, as long as you are invoking all those great-great-great-grandparents, I doubt they would take a hard look at our country in its current state and say, "You know, the number one issue here is gay marriage." But the justice system, the prison system, THAT they might expend some energy on.

Jun. 10 2009 04:16 PM
Voter from Brooklyn

Eva,

We have both birth control and one of the most spectacular rates of childbirth outside of committed relationships in the world. We also have rampant abuse of one of the original intents of the 14th Amendment (citizenship for the children of former slaves) allowing anyone who can keep it in until they reach the US to have a lil American of their own. The population will not die out, hopefully the new generations will be responsible and pay their taxes, so government has no business being involved in it in any way. I support public education, but without full restoration of taxes to people in marriages and people with dependents, the childless and or singles pay more to educate those children than the people who made them. And as for the “extra support” for married couples…. Do we really need to encourage more people to take on responsibilities they can’t manage or afford without a handout? We tried that with mortgages and look what it got us?
At this point I’m beginning to think, let people like Ben hang on to their prejudices and let me hang on to the extra taxes I pay to support other peoples families. Get the government out of all interpersonal relationships, not just the ones called “marriage”…even civil unions. With or without benefits, people like Ben will still be upset because they don’t want anyone to acknowledge homosexuality.
Lastly, I like to think I know a little something about second class citizenship since my great-great-great-great grandparents were “animals”, my great-great-great grandparents were 3/5 human, my great-great grandparents, great grandparents, grandparents, and parents (for part of their lives) were separate and unequal. Any government involvement in relationships causes inequality and tiered citizenship.

Jun. 10 2009 03:09 PM
eva

Sorry, that should read:

The favorable treatment of "married" couples provided some FINANCIAL support for families raising children - JUST as ONCE higher tax rates PAID BY THE LARGER POPULATION supported the schools those children would attend.

Jun. 10 2009 02:54 PM
eva

Voter,

"Question for you: Why should government have a horse in this race at all? (The race being interpersonal relationships) Whether you call it marriage, unions, partnerships or whatever, why should government care? Why should government reward/subsidize it? Why should government even acknowledge it?"

When marriage first became a function of the state, instead of a churchly ritual, there was no birth control. So the vast majority of married people had children. The favorable treatment of "married" couples provided some support for families raising children - as higher tax rates supported the schools those children would attend.

The issue was never "marriage" but the support of the next generation of citizen taxpayers.

Obviously, with the advent of birth control, this was rather turned on its head. Now people can marry and forestall "birthing" until they are too old to actually "birth" anything. So the tax benefits are now a legacy.

IMO, those benefits don't deserve to remain in the case of marriage without children, especially at a time of record deficits.

Again, as I wrote, there IS a growing movement to get the state out of the marriage business entirely - with any luck, this would eventually reduce the tax breaks afforded to married people who can't be bothered to raise children.

Jun. 10 2009 02:02 PM
Voter from Brooklyn

Eva,

Question for you: Why should government have a horse in this race at all? (The race being interpersonal relationships) Whether you call it marriage, unions, partnerships or whatever, why should government care? Why should government reward/subsidize it? Why should government even acknowledge it?

Jun. 10 2009 01:49 PM
eva

Elisa,

"It is very interesting to see the comments of people who feel this is unimportant--it is speaking from such a place of privilege. Does this affect me economically--yes!!! Many of us can't get healthcare through our partners of 17 years, and when we do we have to ay extra taxes since this is considered extra income--non-gay couples get the coverage after 1 minute of marriage and get no tax penalty."

As someone who voted no on 8, and therefore in support of gay marriage, I'm more interested in people getting healthcare period, than by compounding the discrimination and relative lack of benefits for single people by expanding the marriage base - which would incidentally reduce the fully taxable base in a time of ballooning deficits.

I'm relieved to see people like superf88 finally voice my concern that this issue is overblown.

Now, if you were pushing to end discrimination against gay employees - I would march in the street for you. THAT is an issue of economic survival that working people can relate to.

Marriage? If you'd pushed for civil unions with equal benefits, you'd be home by now. You're more frequently fighting over semantics by asking for the term marriage.

There's actually a growing movement in California to get the state out of the marriage business entirely, and leave it to the churches. Just like in France, everyone would get their civil union from the state, and their marriage from the church. Which, in a country which is supposed to respect the separation of church and state, is how it should be.

Jun. 10 2009 01:16 PM
hjs from 11211

ben
i'm with you. drugs, prostitution, i don't care what others do with their bodies. it doesn't effect me and it's none of my business, but taxes, to pay for the extra cops, are killing me.
i don't know u so this is not personal, but i always do find it interesting how the people who want to make abortion a crime don't care about poor children or intercity schools, how the bible belt has the high divorce rates, how many "christians" did nothing while 1000's of iraqis were murdered by conveniently christian bush, how GOP politicians cheat on their wives while they want to punish others for sex, how science take a back seat to stem cell research. it's an interesting time. some want to hold on to the 1950's, others are ready for the 21st century.

Jun. 10 2009 01:09 PM
Voter from Brooklyn

Ok Ben from NY,

Let’s flip this issue on its head. Why should the government (state or federal) have any interest in, involvement with, or recognition of your marriage? That’s between you and your church, no? Why should the government have any interest in or involvement with your decision to drop trou’ and create an economic burden for yourself? That’s between you, your baby’s mother and your accountant. Should your employer be obliged to extend healthcare to your wife because your church says she’s something special to you? Should foreigners be allowed to become Americans because your church says so? Do you file separately when filing your taxes and claim no dependents? In short, should marriage be a church and church only contract completely hands off for governments? If so, why aren’t you supporting that. Say to your state and national representatives, stay out of my personal life. Or are you a hypocrite?

Jun. 10 2009 12:38 PM
Ben from NY

Let's have marriage equality - siblings should be able to marry, parents and children, all kinds of cousins. Let's have polygamy too, while we are at it.

Remove all restrictions. What is with NYS, all this discrimination in this day and age?

Freedom and rights for all!

Hey, we could even make some money, the wedding industry is big business!

Throw all restrictions out the window, money is more important than values after all.

Make NYS the capital of any and all deviancy too, while you are at it. Drugs, prostitution, etc. Hey, we need a new economic engine now that Wall Street has gone down, make NYS the capital of deviancy. Now is the time, with a governor and first lady who openly admitted their affairs.

Welcome to the new NYS!

Jun. 10 2009 12:38 PM
hjs from 11211

ben
if want to do it i'll support u.

Jun. 10 2009 12:24 PM
Ben from NY

Let's have marriage equality - siblings, parents and all sorts of cousins should be allowed to marry. Polygamy should be allowed and encouraged.

Why the discrimination in this day and age? It can help the economy, more weddings means more business.

Money over values. Throw all values and tradition out the window.

Jun. 10 2009 12:17 PM
Elisa from White Plains, NY

Superf88/9
Domestic partnership is not offered in all places--only large cities and some employers. Many people are not covered, so it is not about semantics. In addition, domestic partnership does not automatically cover legal issues such as inheritance or adoption.

And many of us are involved politically in worldwide activism--one does not exclude another.

And this is not by any means my most passionate issue, just a personal one that gets my back up when others (not you) take their privileged status for granted and then ask why others want "special rights" that they get automatically.

Jun. 10 2009 11:33 AM
Sean Pisano from Brooklyn

Again I say, Marriage is a contract between two people. You never go to church to end this contract, you go to court. I do not understand how this is a social issue. It's business, and it creates jobs. When people get married they employ hundreds of people. A domestic partnership does not include the wedding aspect that will employ the people that will help our economy. The average cost of a US wedding is $20,000. Passing the gay marriage bill is not a social issue it is an economy issue.

Jun. 10 2009 11:29 AM
superf88

Elisa/7
In a scenario where domestic partnership legislation can cover your grievances such as hospital visits, tax, etc., I remain interested in hearing how this issue goes beyond a matter of semantics. Haven't heard that argument and would like to -- along with lots of other Americans, whose activist time and effort is competed for with issues from raped Zimbabwe orphans to America's semi-poisoned food system.

(Incidentally, this is coming from someone who, as a matter of principle, common sense and separation of state and church, is PRO gay marriage.) I realize that this is a passionate issue for you, but if you feel like explaining your argument then please do.

Jun. 10 2009 11:13 AM
hjs from 11211

ben
rome fell after the christians came to power!

"antagonize God and bring our city and state down. Enough of this nonsense."

nonsense is pretending that there is a god and running your life to please 5000 year old myths.
voodoo myths are in the "dustbin of history"

Jun. 10 2009 10:50 AM
Elisa from White Plains, NY

It is very interesting to see the comments of people who feel this is unimportant--it is speaking from such a place of privilege. Does this affect me economically--yes!!! Many of us can't get healthcare through our partners of 17 years, and when we do we have to ay extra taxes since this is considered extra income--non-gay couples get the coverage after 1 minute of marriage and get no tax penalty.

How about visiting spouses in the hospital--did you take that for granted, too?

Buying a house together? Not so easy for us.

Maybe we should all think a little more out of the box, (and out of protected privilege, too).

Jun. 10 2009 10:49 AM
Richard Williams from Larchmont, NY

This issue should be thrown in the trash. There are more important concerns that New York should address. Such as jobs, education, and revamping Albany.

Jun. 10 2009 10:43 AM
superf88

For listeners who do not consider themselves to have a direct stake in this issue, it would be helpful to hear a short reply as to how this issue is relevant to a large number or majority of New Yorkers, and not just a red herring, compared to what Rep. Golden seemed to refer to as "more important issues" like the so called Economy.

Personally, I find the church vs. state issue the relevancy but that doesn't seem to have traction among activists.

Jun. 10 2009 10:41 AM
bernard joseph from brooklyn

your producer should've swapped these 2 segments. honestly, as i believe the gay marriage bill should be passed, it really is the LAST issue on the list to be addressed, especially after hearing the previous 2 guests.
they illuminated the fact that NO ONE is in control of our state government and there are much more important issues to be addressed before the gay marriage bill.

Jun. 10 2009 10:40 AM
Ben from NY

There you go again, Brian.

What is it with your obsession with homosexual marriage? Is this your new religion? An article of your faith? Funny how some people are so devout in their liberalism. I guess when you leave your traditional faith, you need a substitute.

Do you want NY to go down like places in the ancient world where they were into homosexuality and then disappeared into the dustbin of history? Let's not antagonize God and bring our city and state down. Enough of this nonsense.

Jun. 10 2009 10:40 AM
Sean Pisano from Brooklyn

How is gay marriage a social issue? First marriage is a contract between 2 people. Second the marriage industry is a big money maker. More marriages mean more jobs.

Jun. 10 2009 10:37 AM
Elisa from White Plains, NY

Martin Golden's comment last comment regarding this being a "social issue" shows his ignorance and bigotry. As he talks about people caring about paying their mortgages, perhaps he should let his wife try to get a mortgage or pay it on her own.

Jun. 10 2009 10:36 AM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.

The Morning Brief

Enter your email address and we’ll send you our top 5 stories every day, plus breaking news and weather.