The National Organization for Marriage -- the most active national group attempting to prohibit same-sex marriage -- is holding four simultaneous rallies on 2011-JUL-24: in Albany, Buffalo, Rochester, and New York City. This is the day when loving, committed same-sex couples will first be able to obtain marriage licenses in a few clerk's offices. Their goal is to have the legislature create a referendum so that the public can vote on whether to allow or ban SSM in the state. 1
New marriage licenses have been designed and have already been distributed to some clerk's offices in New York State. They have three options for each person: "bride," "groom," or "spouse." Thus, a same-sex couple can choose "Bride-Bride," "Groom-Groom," or "Spouse-Spouse." The clerk's offices in New York City, Woodstock, and probably others plan to be open on Sunday, 2011-JUL-24. The rest should be open on the morning of JUL-25. Unless a judicial exemption is obtained, or unless the couples have been previously married to each other, they must wait a day after obtaining the marriage license to be married. 2
New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms (NYCF) is an evangelical Christian group whose main programs involve limiting freedom of access by women to abortion and same-sex couples to marriage. In an article titled "New York falls off moral precipice," they write:
"Needless to say, New Yorkers for¬ Constitutional Freedoms (NYCF)¬ is extremely disappointed with the recent State Senate vote to legalize gay 'marriage'. The bill‚s passage was bad enough, but it is compounded by a process that was rotten to the core.¬ ¬
There is no nice way to say this; pro-family voters were sold out by the highest echelons of the Republican Party in the Empire State. This bill could not have come to the floor without the support of at least Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos (R-Rockville Cent re) and his legislative lieutenants. ..."
It is common for religious conservatives to enclose the word marriage in quotation marks when it is used to refer to same-sex couples. This indicates that they do not regard such marriages as legitimate.
Rev. Jason J. McGuire, Executive Director, [of NYCF] says:
"Naturally, people are looking to New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms wondering what can be done now.¬ They want to know what is next.
'Let me preface this by saying any court action before the law is implemented is a long-shot, but our legal team is looking at our options.¬ It seems much more likely that court cases may result as a violation of religious freedoms. The bad news is that by that point there will be probably thousands, perhaps tens of thousands, of gay marriages that any court will be loathe to annul,' McGuire continued.
The reality is that concerned Christians will probably have to look to the 2012 elections to send a message to the State Republican Party that they will no longer tolerate being sold out on social issues. It is unfortunate that the vast majority of Democratic legislators and a handful of liberal-leaning Republicans have put personal agendas, ahead of principled positions. Conservatives had hoped for better, but now they look to next year's November."3
Pastor Barrett Lee of the First Presbyterian Church of Boonville, NY and his wife, a fellow Presbyterian minister in Westernville, NY attended a demonstration in Albany in mid 2011-JUN to express their support of SSM. He gave a sermon on JUN-26 promoting inclusion. He said:
"This legislation that's passed is a way that the broader community, our broader society as New Yorker's, as Americans, is allowing us to stretch our minds. It's allowing us to reach out and embrace all people in sort of that 'one human family.' ... I really think that the Holy Spirit is doing something new in our society. And to be a part of it, we get to be in step with what the Holy Spirit is doing and I can't imagine anything that is more exciting, more empowering, more delightful. This is why I get out of bed in the morning, and I'm stoked."
He asked for volunteers in the congregation to talk to the media. The only
person to accept was Rick Bellinger -- the only openly gay member present that day. Bellinger said:
"I was talking to someone just a few minutes ago in fact, who said well, why would gay people want to get married? And I said, why did you get married? And she said, because I loved my husband. And I said that's the same thing with me or anyone else."
Bellinger believes that the SSM bill will have a positive side-effect. It will make things easier for young lesbians, gays. and bisexuals. He is in his '50's and wishes the bill had been passed when he was young. He said,
"Young people don't really know where to turn. They don't know what to do about the way that they feel about themselves. ... They know they feel out of synch with everyone else, and they don't know why. ... This is what I went through." 4
Video by WKTV Utica:
Timothy Dolan, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of the Diocese of New York -- which includes New York City and its immediately surrounding counties -- said: "I am deeply disappointed and troubled by a measure that will alter radically and forever humanity's historic understanding of marriage." 5
Since the legalization of SSM in one of the 50 American states can hardly change all of humanity, he may be assuming that the legalization of SSM in New York state will accelerate marriage equality across the entire country, which in turn will propagate to the rest of the world.
Tens of thousands of loving, committed same-sex couples are expected to marry over the next few years. CNN commented:
"New York's mayor, Michael Bloomberg, and city leaders must be cheering the economic shot in the arm as hotels, restaurants, caterers, florists and legions of vendors welcome the wedding and honeymoon brigades. Some estimate nearly $400 million in revenues for the state over the next three years.
These rewards are also the result of changing tides among American corporations and employers over recent decades. Gov. Andrew Cuomo's same-sex marriage legislation was endorsed not only by major corporations like Xerox and Google but by scores of smaller business owners across the state." 6
During 2012-FEB, the Conservative party in New York State pulled its backing of state senator Mark Grisanti (R). Mark was one of two state senators who voted in favor of the SSM bill in 2011. The Conservative Party's chairperson Ralph C. Lorigo said that Gisanti no longer had the trust of the party after he initially said that he was opposed to marriage equality. The party now supports a Democrat! -- Charles Swanick who opposes marriage equality and favors other conservative policies. 7