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Religious Tolerance logo

Same-sex marriage (SSM) in New York State

Marriage Equality law: still more reactions

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The acronym LGBT refers to the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender,
and transsexual communities. SSM refers to same-sex marriage.

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This topic continues from a previous essay

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Reactions to the passage of the law (Cont'd):

happy face Glenn Coin of the Post-Standard in Syracuse, NY, wrote about couples, including Jean and Susan Salomone. They plan to get married on the 17th anniversary of their commitment ceremony of 1994-AUG-27. He wrote:

    "We’re ecstatic,” said Jean Salomone, who lives in Syracuse with Susan Salomone and the couple’s four children . 'When we had our first ceremony, it was for us and for our families with no state recognition. Now, there will be no question. ... I didn’t want to let myself get too excited because there were a lot of disappointments over the years.' Within two minutes of the vote, Salomone said, her phone rang. She assumed it was a friend. 'It was our oldest daughter who was at a friend’s house for a sleep over. She just wanted to congratulate us.'

    Frazier DeForge and her partner, Carrie Shepard, watched the vote tensely on Friday night. They had been disappointed before; two years ago when the Senate rejected the bill by a vote of 38-24. DeForge and Shepard had considered getting married in Toronto, DeForge said, but decided to wait and see what New York would do. 'We’ve been waiting 14 years for this, and when that vote went down, we were the happiest two people on the planet,' she said. 'I’m going to turn 50 in a few weeks, and this is the best gift I could ever have. ... Carrie and I wanted to get married in the state where we own a home and the state we both love,' DeForge said. DeForge said she and Shepard are planning a traditional, formal wedding. 'I’ve watched people do it all my life. They have these huge formal weddings, which I’ve loved,' she said. 'I just want to have my seven people in my wedding party and wear a traditional tuxedo and my partner wear a traditional gown'."

    "In churches where gay marriage has been accepted for years, clergy members celebrated the new law. 'I would just say, Hallelujah said the Rev. Jean Wahlstrom of the May Memorial Unitarian Universalist Church in Syracuse. 'It’s a long-awaited stand for justice and equal rights. It affirms family values that are grounded in love and not in hatred.'

    Becky Clifford and her wife, Terri Clifford, of Liverpool, were married last year in Connecticut. They already have all the rights and protections of marriage in New York, but they plan to renew their vows in a ceremony on their first anniversary at St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church in Liverpool. ''There are always going to be people who don’t look at us as usual, and that’s OK,' Clifford said. 'There are not going to be as many questions. When I mention my wife, people aren’t going to say, Is that legal'?" 1

  • sad face The New York state section of the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) -- the main national group opposing marriage equality -- is devoted to a fund raising effort so that NOM can "Defeat the New York Senators that Betrayed Marriage." NOM president Brian Brown wrote:

    "NOM has defeated every pro-gay marriage Republican we've ever targeted, and we're quite confident we will do so in New York." 2

NOM has pledged $ 2 million to oppose seven senators -- four Republicans and three Democrats -- who voted in favor of the Marriage Equality bill. They ask their site visitors to donate money so that they will reach this goal.

  • happy face David Caruso of the Associated Press wrote about personal impacts that the Marriage Equality Act is having on individuals in the state:

    • Even as the news spread of the law passage, New York City fashion designer dashed off a proposal via Twitter to his boyfriend of nine years. His new fiancé K. Tyson Perez said "yes."

    • Bernadette Smith in Boston, MA, immediately decided to open a new location for her same-sex wedding planning business "14 Stories" in New York City.

    • Pastors Ann Kansfield and Jennifer Aull of the Greenpoint Reformed Church in Greenpoint, Brooklyn received their first two requests for a same-sex marriage service.

    • Rev. Stephen H. Phelps, has held committment services for years at the Riverside Church in Manhattan. He said he was looking forward to state-sanctioned marriage services, He said: "I think it is an occasion for members of our society who have been burned by narrow-minded religion to see that it doesn't have to be that way."

    • Rev. Joseph Tolton of the Rehoboth Temple Christ Conscious Church, a Pentecostal congregation that is predominantly gay, said he was looking forward to being very busy on future Saturdays. 3

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  • sad face Roman Catholic Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio of Brooklyn wrote:

    "Today, Governor Andrew Cuomo and the state legislature have deconstructed the single most important institution in human history. Republicans and Democrats alike succumbed to powerful political elites and have passed legislation that will undermine our families and as a consequence, our society.

    With this vote, Governor Cuomo has opened a new front in the culture wars that are tearing at the fabric of our nation. At a time when so many New Yorkers are struggling to stay in their homes and find jobs, we should be working together to solve these problems. However, the politicians have curried favor with wealthy donors who are proponents of a divisive agenda in order to advance their own careers and futures.

    What is needed in our state is leadership and not political gamesmanship.

    In light of these disturbing developments and in protest for this decision, I have asked all Catholic schools to refuse any distinction or honors bestowed upon them this year by the governor or any member of the legislature who voted to support this legislation. Furthermore, I have asked all pastors and principals to not invite any state legislator to speak or be present at any parish or school celebration.

    The above request is intended as a protest of the corrupt political process in New York State. More than half of all New Yorkers oppose this legislation. Yet, the governor and the state legislature have demonized people of faith, whether they be Muslims, Jews, or Christians, and identified them as bigots and prejudiced, and voted in favor of same-sex 'marriage.'  It is mystifying that this bill would be passed on the last day of an extended session under the cover of darkness.

    "This issue has been framed as upholding marriage equality. This is not the case since one of the principal purposes of marriage is to bring new life into the world. This cannot happen in same-sex marriage. It is not a civil rights issue, but rather a human rights issue upholding the age-old understanding of marriage. Our political leaders do not believe their own rhetoric. If they did, how in good conscience could they carve out any exemption for institutions that would be proponents of bigotry and prejudice?

    "Republicans and Democrats equally share responsibility for this ruinous legislation and we as Catholics should hold all accountable for their actions." 4

    His reference to "more than half of all New Yorkers" opposing this legislation appears to be based on a faulty poll commissioned by the National Organization for Marriage. The poll involved questioning a very small number of respondent, mainly married, older adults, who are frequent churchgoers. The results appear to be quite unreliable and are in major conflict with data from larger polls, which indicate that about 53% of American adults favor allowing same-sex couples to marry, while only about 45% are opposed. The data for New York State adults are even higher, with 58% in favor and only 36% opposed.

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More reactions in the next essay

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References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. Glen Coin, "Central New York same-sex couples start their wedding plans, celebrate new law," Post-Standard, 2011-JUN-26, at:
  2. "Help us defeat the New York Senators thatbetrayed marriage," National Organization for Marriage, at:
  3. David B. Caruso, "Wedding plans bloom as NY legalizes gay marriage," Associated Press, 2011-JUN-25, at:
  4. "New York Legislature Undermines True Marriage, Family, Society and the Common Good," Catholic Online, 2011-JUN-27, at:

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 Home > Homosexuality > Same-sex marriage > Menu > NY > here

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Copyright © 2011 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2011-JUN-22
Latest update: 2011-JUL-07
Author: B.A. Robinson

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