Albany and Gay Marriage

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Gay marriage was voted down by the New York State Senate yesterday. Julie Bolcer, New York correspondent for The Advocate, breaks down the vote and the gay marriage initiative still pending in the New Jersey legislature. Plus, New York State Senators Diane Savino (D-23) and Tom Duane (D-29) offer their take on the NY Senate vote.


Julie Bolcer, Tom Duane and Diane Savino

Comments [63]

L. from manhattan

to Janice in NYC [20]:

it is NOT any elected official's job to blindly follow the desires of their constituency, a very dangerous idea to be sure. the american population is being dumbed down at an alarming rate (not to mention manipulated and controlled as well as blatantly lied to) and i believe michael moore (see brian's interview) states that illiteracy rates are higher than ever and climbing steadily. i certainly want any elected official to follow their conscience, taking for granted THEY HAVE ONE (which is a MAJOR part of the problem, along with a corrupt political system). history shows, again and again with the utmost tragic and devastating consequences, that given a choice the general public will act on behalf of themselves ONLY in an especially cruel and self-righteous manner to gain benefit solely for themselves without regard or care for those whose rights are self-evident but which are not protected.

i think some of the saddest points of america's history, not to mention europe in, HELLO? the 20th century, proves my point quite dramatically.

kudos to any elected official who can speak up and act according to a moral and ethical compass, which sadly in my experience most of the general public does not have.

Dec. 04 2009 12:46 PM
Bernice from Plainfield NJ

I didn't hear any mention this morning of the National Organization for Marriage, which claims to have spent $600,000 in drumming up opposition to gay marriage in New York. They were also involved in the Scozzafava case.

Dec. 03 2009 02:12 PM
Voter from Brooklyn

My point with the Greeks and miscegenation was this. Early Americans has pretty clear ideas of who it was ok to marry and not marry and olive skinned people weren’t on the “ok” list.
Black and white unions just happened to be the last (racial) taboo in America.

Dec. 03 2009 01:07 PM
hjs from 11211

boy u really want to fight me today
what are greeks if not white. assuming there are in fact white or black people, since the human dna is 99.9999 the same

Dec. 03 2009 12:23 PM
Voter from Brooklyn

#58 (hjs)
I was quite serious in post #16. If members of the New York State legislature believes what they have publically said they believe are valid reasons to oppose same-sex civil marriage—God’s will, protecting the institution, childrearing and popular support—then all steps possible should be made, not only to hold them accountable, but to enshrine in state law the protections for marriage and childrearing that the people of New York are demanding of their representatives.
Any member of the New York State Assembly or Senate who has voted nay on same-sex civil unions but refuses to protect opposite-sex civil unions and procreation will be exposed for the hypocrites and bigots they are.
It is time for the so-called protectors of so-called traditional marriage as recognized and governed over by the state of New York to put up or shut up.
Every member of the LGBT community should demand accountability in marriage as defined by the naysayers since accountability is the reason this state-given contractual right is being denied to LG and possibly T couples.
It is time to play hardball.
(And if you think Greeks are "white", you're kidding yourself. The races have been mixing in Europe for hundreds of years with the blessing of the church.)

Dec. 03 2009 12:14 PM
hjs from 11211

clearly i was joking. (as i thought u were 16)
but never mind. i don't care who marries who.
Cleopatra was of greek descent (despite being ruler of egypt)

Dec. 03 2009 11:57 AM
hjs from 11211

the truth!
a fight for civil rights won't a just go away because we don't like the people who are asking for equality or think their quest has no merit. we'll have to hear about this until the law is changed

Dec. 03 2009 11:40 AM
Voter from Brooklyn

#52 (hjs)
Tell it to Anthony and Cleopatra and every royal family on the European continent married by the catholic church. That is, unless you mean the only significant differentiation of race is between Africans and the rest of the world.
The prime rational for preventing the mixing of the races (namely black and white) was preventing cross-species breeding.
Your argument only holds water if you are saying different races are in fact different species.
It would behoove you to put down the shovel and stop digging the hole.

Dec. 03 2009 11:36 AM
the truth! from BKNY

Let's close the door on this issue already and not go there again.

Dec. 03 2009 11:34 AM
the truth! from BKNY

This again

Dec. 03 2009 11:32 AM
Voter from Brooklyn

I am not arguing semantics, I’m arguing the facts of the law.
If you are married, what does the license issued by the state say? From which department did you receive said contract? Was that state-issued document required for you to file taxes jointly? What is your state-issued contract referred to on your taxes, insurance, and social security benefits? Was the religious sacrament required in order for you to obtain said state-issued contract? Would any of the benefits you receive from your religious sacrament have been recognized without your state-issued contract?

Dec. 03 2009 11:25 AM
hjs from 11211

my point was mixed race marriage seems untraditional to me.

Dec. 03 2009 11:19 AM
Voter from Brooklyn

I missed one item hjs,
Require the wedding vows be added, as spoken during the ceremony, into the marriage contract as additional clauses.
If one pledged to obey and honor through sickness and health and reneges, this should be actionable in the courts for the damaged party in the contract.

Dec. 03 2009 11:17 AM
Voter from Brooklyn

#44 (hjs),
I did not mention miscegenation, well frankly, because it was outside of the point.
The point is either on the floor, in front of the cameras, or on the radio legislators say that voting down same-sex secular civil marriage is a matter of protecting the institution of marriage and the rearing of the next generation. Miscegenation has nothing to do with either, unless you are proposing blacks are somehow the “other” and go against Leviticus’ prohibition of interspecies unions (one of the arguments use against interracial couples.) Are you?
If the 38 members of the NY Senate voting nay believe they are protecting marriage as God intended and/or promoting the rearing of children, then we should call their bluff.
Legislation should be introduced immediately that will:
Ban divorce or make the only cause for divorce be adultery.
Require the blessing of any recognized religion before a divorce can be issued.
Criminalize adultery.
Mandate natural and unaided sexual procreation as a requirement to consummate the marriage contract.
Mandate the recognition of the state-issued contract by any federally recognized religious organization.
Make all of the above retroactive.
It is time for legislators to put up or shut up.

Dec. 03 2009 11:13 AM
Melanie in SI from Staten Island

I'm so proud of Diane Savino for standing up for what she believes is right (and what many of her constituents want). Her eloquent and moving speech was awesome. Way to go!!

Dec. 03 2009 11:07 AM
hjs from 11211

[46] Tigersfan
except that the state has for a long time performed marriage AND marriage is nothing more than a LEGAL contract. also it's the state that can end a marriage not a church.

Dec. 03 2009 11:06 AM
anonymous from manhattan

horribly disappointing and shameful. so disheartening how cruel people can be.

Dec. 03 2009 11:01 AM
Tigersfan from Brooklyn


I hope were not quibbling about semantics, but I think I'm voicing a legitimate objection. I think it's important to recognize that the state can do some things; like issue a license, recognize civil rights and grant a tax status and there are things the church can do; like perform baptisms, ordain ministers, celebrate communion and perform marriages.

I think by clarifying the language by using seperate terms like "civil unions" as opposed to "marriage" we would go a long way toward reconcilling people's points of view.

Dec. 03 2009 10:57 AM
Josh from Brooklyn

I don't understand the reasoning of people who say its the definition of marriage. I don't agree with your definition. Does that mean I'm less of a person? You say so, because of a disagreement, you are denying someone's rights. period. If that's a free vote, I'm a martian. its a completely rigged vote, because you've set the rules. You've decided the definition of marriage, and I don't get a say. how is that fair? Nobody is telling you to marry a gay person. What do you care if someone does? What are you afraid of? people discriminate because they are afraid of something. its simple suppression. Countries discriminate against free speech because they're afraid of the power it brings. I'm not telling you to marry gay people, who are you to tell someone who wants to they can't. You're definition of marriage is not universal. But you're forcing your views on me. How dare you!

Dec. 03 2009 10:52 AM
hjs from 11211

voter 16

don't forget since it wasn't so long ago the blacks and whites were not aloud to marry, a ban on mixed race marriage should also be considered

Dec. 03 2009 10:46 AM
Josh from Brooklyn

I have to agree with voter. Who grants a licence? The church, nope. I don't belong to a church, and I'm married. how? I went to city hall, got a licence and said my vows. If fact, (cover your ears), I'm an atheist. My tax return says married, I'm under my wife's insurance because mine is bad. We pay less taxes filing as a couple. Can gay people do that? nope. Why? because the church and other bigots dictate what they can do with their lives.

Dec. 03 2009 10:45 AM
db from nyc

I agree; this is an ill-defined argument.

The state should not have anything to do with anything involving religious institutions or the so-called sacraments of these institutions. However, what the state does have control over is the fair treatment of all individuals who decide to share their lives together, regardless of color, creed or sexual orientation.

This is an issue of CIVIL contract, and currently is NOT fair. This has NOTHING to do with anything religious. Individual religious institutions can choose to marry whoever they want within their own parameters.

Personally, I feel it is a shame and diminishes the unique character of gay culture when gays attempt to mimic the boring and archaic institutions of straight culture.

This argument needs to be re-framed as a civil rights issue!

Dec. 03 2009 10:44 AM
Ed Helmrich from Larchmont, NY

Well, I'll just say that this is exactly what the fight is over: our definition of marriage. It has to be defined some way. And it's a fight, a disagreement, and the fight will decide who will prevail.
It's not a church-state issue, however, beccause in voting, we vote as whole persons, on any reasons we wish. Others might disagree with our reasons, but we're free to vote on religious reasons, practical reasons, preferences, etc. It's a free vote.

Dec. 03 2009 10:43 AM
Voter from Brooklyn

You miss one key caveat in your description of the “religious sacrament” of marriage. Without a state issued marriage license, that sacrament is meaningless. Furthermore, that sacrament is not a requirement to be considered married in the eyes of the state or federal government and no affirmation of faith is required to enter into the secular contract of legal marriage.
You are correct in saying that the church is wholly in the business of baptisms and ordinations without the interference of the state; however, the state has not created thousands of rights, responsibilities, and tax breaks for being baptized.

Dec. 03 2009 10:39 AM
hjs from 11211

some of these hateful theocratic thugs run unopposed in the general election and weak primary challenges. so the question is can the 6 NYC dem senators be removed or will they stay in office for life?

Dec. 03 2009 10:38 AM
Chad Harris

"Because someone disagrees with changing a fundemental social relationship does not make them Bigots. The Bigots are those that are quick to call people names and homophobes. "

What? Marriage may be a "social relationship" to you but it is a LEGAL CONTRACT binding two people together licensed by states, it is also used by the federal government.

Dec. 03 2009 10:38 AM
Josh from Brooklyn

Ed at #19

With all due respect, your comment is very upsetting to me (and no, I'm not gay). it is not about marriage. Who are you to dictate your views of marriage on the gay community. it is 100% civil rights. if straight people have the right to marry, so do gay people. Say, I say only people with long hair can marry. You have short hair, and I have long. You can't marry. is that fair? Of course not. Who decides what constitutes as long or short? You? The church? not on my watch. Anyone who denies the rights to someone that he/she already has the rights to is simply discrimination which we all I hope) agree is wrong. Those who think its ok to deny rights to others that they have is simply a bigot. Why can't gay people have what you have, just because you don't agree with the definition of a word? Go back to Nazi Germany.

Dec. 03 2009 10:34 AM


"Because someone disagrees with changing a fundemental social relationship does not make them Bigots."

Essentially you are denying a group of people the right to partake in this social relationship (assuming you currently consider marriage an act of love, not to be confused with the sole purpose of procreation). You can disagree, but that doesn't give you the right to deny.

Dec. 03 2009 10:34 AM
Susan from Kingston

John from office - It depends what people consider a "fundamental social relationship." This so-called "fundamental social relationship" has been determined by a certain class of men, not by all of us.

Dec. 03 2009 10:31 AM
mozo from nyc

And congrats to the Republican Party for setting human rights back another 50 years.

Dec. 03 2009 10:31 AM
Kelly from Queens

I am a hetorosexual senior & won't vote for Onorato in any primary again. This IS a separation of church and state issue....& this is an issue of modern versus primative. If you don't think this is about defining marraige - ask anyone who survived a partner (even a common law spouse)what decisions they were denied by hospitals, and by family regarding iinheritance.
All citizens deserve the same rights.

Dec. 03 2009 10:30 AM
Andy from Brooklyn

C'mon, Hugh[12], be reasonable. Think of the names used to describe the previous presidential administration, the Fox News staff, or Rick Santorum. The left does it's fair share of being impolite and hyperbolic.

If you're a level-headed progressive, you probably aren't reading those impolite left rants; but you are paying attention to the crazy right rants. There are many level-headed conservatives and they probably experience the same: reading the Wall Street Journal instead of watching Fox News and hearing drum-circle college students shout down legitimate politicians as Nazis.

Dec. 03 2009 10:29 AM
db from nyc

Diaz is an ignorant bigot of remarkably diminished intellectual capacity. It is beyond incredible that he is an elected official. What does this say about his constituency?

... on the other hand, GWB became president of the United States!

Please listen to this interview of Ruben Diaz from Brian Lehrer for a clear example of this idiot's limited capacity:

Dec. 03 2009 10:29 AM
Geoff O Sullivan from brooklyn

I refuse to have any respect for the opponents of Gay marriage as they seek to "protect" marriage yet have no platform to outlaw divorce which surely represents a far greater threat to the sanctity of marriage.

Dec. 03 2009 10:28 AM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

Marriage historically has been about the division of private property not morality.

If Marriage is truly a religious sacrament then the state shouldn't recognize ANY marriage. Seperation of church and state.

With a near 50% divorce rate and everyone from Spitzer to Tiger Woods making a mockery of this so-called sacred institution, it's laughable when people pretend otherwise.

Dec. 03 2009 10:28 AM
Tigersfan from Brooklyn

I think your guests are a bit insensitive to the issue of church/state separation. Maybe it's just a matter of semantics but marriage is a religious sacrament like baptism or ordaining ministers and the state has no business sanctioning a religious sacrament either for heterosexuals or homosexuals. I would be far more comfortable if the measure was termed "civil union". They might want to re-think their legislative strategy with that objection in mind.

Dec. 03 2009 10:27 AM

Voter from Brooklyn: yes! I'd say, introduce a bill that would realistically encompass the spirit of the CA "ban divorce" movement.

Dec. 03 2009 10:26 AM
Leslie from Manhattan

I don't have a problem with the Republicans - they were never committed to equality. But the 8 Dems - especially teh four in Queens... My question is when do we start seeing challengers names pop up so that they can face a real primary battle?

Dec. 03 2009 10:26 AM
john from office

Because someone disagrees with changing a fundemental social relationship does not make them Bigots. The Bigots are those that are quick to call people names and homophobes.

Dec. 03 2009 10:26 AM
Chad Harris

I’m gay and I do not support this. Why should we be subjected to 52 separate state decisions for something that is clearly a federal right? We may win battles but we are losing the war. State by state marriage is a red-herring that distracts from the bigger issue and protects spineless Democratic politicians.

The HRC wants us to believe in the power of the majority, a majority who has and will continue to fight against and rescind any progress we make. A majority our constitution protects us against. (See California and the plan to spend millions undoing an overturned decision that never made sense in the first place.) All of this struggle for something as simple, as clear, as cheap and as time-tested as equality.

Our leadership lived through a civil rights era but all of the sudden the promise of equality is now a privilege. I am in an 8-year bi-national relationship with a man who will soon face deportation. No state, state law, federal law, or foreign marriage protects my federal right to do what my own brother can do. Marry.

Barrack Obama needs to back away from the HRC and the likes of Barney Frank and go rogue. We need a champion for equal rights, anything less is discrimination. This is not a battle over gay marriage it is a battle for equality. Mark my words; anyone against full equality is and will be on the WRONG side of history. After all we all know how this turns out don’t we?

Dec. 03 2009 10:26 AM
Jill from Westchester

We've been fighting in the Middle East for years (supposedly) trying to keep the extremist clerics in check, allow democracy to flower, and eradicate human rights. Yet back at home religious leaders pressure the government reps into denying rights (marriage, abortion) to American citizens.....Anybody else have a problem with that?

Dec. 03 2009 10:24 AM
Tash from manhattan

I don't think the caller was asking for married couples to give up their "marriage rights", but perhaps to add the option of Civil Unions to couples of all genders.

They have this in New Zealand, and it works very well. There are many heterosexual couples disillusioned with the institution of marriage and find civil unions to be a more modern approach to recognized partnership.

Dec. 03 2009 10:24 AM
Hugh Sansom from Brooklyn NY

Are Republicans in New York State using the tactics of the Republicans in Congress -- oppose all key Democratic measures all the time?

Dec. 03 2009 10:24 AM
Janice from NYC

Senator Savino said something that concerns me. Regardless of the issue, I don't think that it is a senator's job to try to convince her constituents to agree with her. It is her job to represent the people who elected her. That means that she should be voting based on the opinions of the majority of her constituents, not voting based on what she believes regardless of what her constituents want. Instead of trying to convince people to agree with her, she should be educating people about the issues so that they can make informed decisions and then inform her how they want her to vote.

Dec. 03 2009 10:22 AM
Ed Helmrich from Larchmont, NY

This issue is not about gay people: it's about marriage. People with same sex attraction can marry like heterosexual people, but they have to marry someone of the opposite sex. And heterosexual people can't marry someone of the same sex. So it's not a denial of civil rights, it's a question of what marriage is.

Dec. 03 2009 10:22 AM
Tony from Santa Clara, CA

The problem to calling it civil unions with supposedly identical rights, is in effect "separate but equal" legal regimes.

If it's the same, it has the same name. If it doesn't have the same name, then it's not equal.

Dec. 03 2009 10:22 AM
matthew from manhattan

I think that the government, federal and state should get out of the marriage business. Leave marriage as a religious/personal bond.

Dec. 03 2009 10:20 AM
Voter from Brooklyn

Although the vote was not successful in the direction of equality, thank you Senator Duane for the effort.
Would you consider calling the bluff of your co-workers who say their no vote is a vote for marriage integrity? Please introduce a law proposing serious consequences for adultery, a law strengthening the bonds of marriage and narrowing or wholly eliminating the path to divorce, a law requiring procreation within a set time after the issuing of a marriage license, a law banning secular marriage, or a law requiring couples be able to reproduce unaided.

Dec. 03 2009 10:20 AM
Taher from Croton on Hudson

Let’s face Diaz and the rest are bigots.

Dec. 03 2009 10:18 AM

John, you could also say, "we're at war...blah blah blah...why are so many people using valuable resources to deny fundamental human rights to everyone?" Believe me, no one is trying to force you to marry a man.

Dec. 03 2009 10:18 AM
mozo from nyc

All govt marrage should become civil unions. You want marrage, go to the religion of your choice. Sad day for NY.

Dec. 03 2009 10:17 AM
Hugh Sansom from Brooklyn NY

Compare the language of your guests at 10 this morning with that of people like Ruben Diaz.

Your guests are bending over backward to be polite. Those who publicly oppose marriage equality use the most vicious language to condemn the LGBT community.

We see the same in most left-right splits in the US. The right wing calls progressives 'devils' 'anti-American' 'terrorists' -- you name it.

Is it any wonder that progressives trying -- reasonably -- to reach consensus can't make headway with right-wingers who call us "evil"?

Dec. 03 2009 10:17 AM
Richard Johnston from Upper West Side

Senators Savino and Duane can stand proud. The despicable betrayal by some other Democrats and all Republicans is an insult to humanity. We cannot know if it was some religious hangup or some message to the governor that made these odious scum want to deny basic civil rights to all citizens of New York State, but we do now know who our friends are.

Dec. 03 2009 10:15 AM
john from office

Maybe Americans don't like having this legislation shoved down their throats

We are at war and we are arguing over same sex marriage. No wonder the religious world views us a decadent.

Dec. 03 2009 10:14 AM

I just want to say that Diane Savino's comments blew me away! They almost made me tear up (and I happen to be heterosexual).

It's a bit ironic that so many senators against the bill happen to represent...Queens!

Dec. 03 2009 10:13 AM
Voter from Brooklyn

Starting with a gay joke Brian… ba dum bomp!

Dec. 03 2009 10:11 AM
Richard Lee from Park Slope

A simple and heartfelt thanks to Senator Savino for her eloquence and support of human rights.

Richard Lee

Dec. 03 2009 10:11 AM
JT from NYC

Thank you Ms. Savino.

Dec. 03 2009 10:11 AM
jill from brookyn

Those 37 senators who voted against the bill and didn't explain their votes are COWARDS, pure and simple. While I do not agree with Sen Diaz at all, at least he had the guts to stand behind his vote. My senator, Sen Parker, voted for the bill. I so wish I could vote in other districts so I had some power to remove these cowards from office.

Dec. 03 2009 10:11 AM

To add to hjs's post:
NYC Democrats who voted NO on Marriage Equality: Joseph Addabbo (D) (518) 455-2322
Darrel Aubertine (D) (518) 455-2761
Ruben Diaz (D) (518) 455-2511
Shirley Huntley (D) (518) 455-3531
Carl Kruger (D) (518) 455-2460
Hiram Monserrate (D) (518) 455-2529
George Onorato (D) (518) 455-3486
William Stachowski (D) (518)-455-2426

Dec. 03 2009 10:08 AM
Josh from Brooklyn

This is so unbelievably disappointing. Anger inducing, actually. The US has a long history of calling itself the land of the free, but yet relegates so many of its citizens to second class status. Doesn't every 5th grader learn every man is created equal? The last time I checked its our founding document. So why are so many people simply ignoring it? But it doesn't say women, so there. But they can marry. it's a free country. To some out there I am going to be accused as being too literal, but the truth is there. If we are to truthfully be a free and open society, every person should be equal, At one time, blacks were not even considered a human being (3/5ths according to Mr. Jefferson.) They can marry now. Interracial marriage is allowed. All these things were corrected because people stood up and said it was wrong. All using the tenant, all people are created equal.

Dec. 03 2009 10:07 AM
Richard Bonomo from Yonkers

An irrefutable truth about homosexuality is that it is part of human biology. It is at one end of the spectrum of sexuality and sexual behavior that humans exhibit. Other social mammals, those that live in packs, pods, herds, etc., have polygamous families centered around one male who must often defend his dominance by battling challengers, often to death. It is obvious that this kind of behavior would thwart the cooperation that is the hallmark of human civilization. It is also obvious that vestiges of this behavior linger in our species as well.

Those opposed to gay marriage are in the same league as evolution deniers when it comes to an objective assessment and understanding of fundamental scientific principles

Dec. 03 2009 09:56 AM
hjs from 11211

Joseph P. Addabbo Jr., Queens district 15
Darrel J. Aubertine, Watertown district 48
Rubén Díaz Sr., Bronx
Shirley L. Huntley, Queens district 10
Carl Kruger, Brooklyn district 27
Hiram Monserrate, Queens district 13
George Onorato, Queens district 12
William T. Stachowski, Buffalo

6 locals. maybe it's time to show up at primary time

Dec. 03 2009 09:52 AM

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