Friday, June 17, 2011

Marriage Equality: New York On The Brink

Despite the best efforts of some bigots and homophobes, the state of New York seems to be on the brink of becoming the next state to legalize marriage equality.

ALBANY — Senate Republicans emerged from a brief session with Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg on Thursday morning and said they had still not decided whether to allow a vote on same-sex marriage.

Mr. Bloomberg, an independent who is the biggest single donor to the Senate Republican caucus, is a strong advocate of same-sex marriage, and he flew up to Albany in an effort to persuade the G.O.P. Senate majority to allow a vote on the contentious issue, which is supported by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and was approved by the State Assembly Wednesday night.

Speaking to reporters after his meeting, Mr. Bloomberg said he believed that the bill would ultimately pass with several votes to spare.

“I still believe if they do vote their hearts and principles, New York State will become the next state to adopt marriage equality,” Mr. Bloomberg said. “Because based on my conversations with senators, I believe that if the bill comes to the floor, it will pass. And I’m very hopeful that will be any day now.”

The remaining issue was whether or not religious groups such as churches or synagogues would be shielded from lawsuits if they refused to perform same-sex ceremonies.

I don’t think that should be a deal-breaker; let them refuse to perform whatever services they want to. It’s not as if the state is forcing them to do it, and besides, that’s a lot less odious than the state forbidding churches and synagogues from performing same-sex weddings if they want to.