The New York State Senate vote for homosexual marriage doesn’t make its introduction inevitable in other U.S.states. Rather, it is likely to make it an issue for the next presidential election.
In one sense, the New York vote can be considered a defeat for those defending traditional marriage. It doubles the number of Americans living in states where same-sex marriage has been introduced by legislation.
However, the New York state Senate vote has to be considered in perspective. The bill was carried by only 33-29 votes, i.e., a shift of only two votes could have defeated it.
Sharon Slater of Family Watch International commented: “Several senators who had voted against legalising same-sex marriage in the previous legislature, caved in this time to intense pressure and political threats.
“They were also offered financial support from wealthy contributors to soften the inevitable backlash from angry voters who counted on them to protect marriage.”
According to the New York Times (June 25), New York Governor Andrew Cuomo sought the backing of three financiers: Paul E. Singer, the founder of Elliott Management and an ardent Republican donor; Clifford S. Asness, the head of the quant fund AQR Capital; and Daniel S. Loeb, the leader of Third Point.
They raised a significant amount of the $US1 million for the lobby campaign. The paper described these financers as “inclined to see the issue as one of personal freedom, consistent with their libertarian views”, and their contributions as key to the final outcome.
The vote for homosexual marriage in New Yorkcomes after a number of major defeats over the past year.
Sharon Slater says that attempts to legalise homosexual marriage have failed in several “liberal” (i.e., left-wing) states, including Maryland, New Jersey and Rhode Island, where homosexual activists had been confident they would win.
They also failed to stop proposed state constitutional marriage amendments defending traditional marriage in several states, most notably in liberal Minnesota where a marriage amendment will feature on the 2012 ballot.
In the six states and the District of Columbia, where homosexual marriage has been legalised, it has been imposed either by activist judges (as in Connecticut, Iowa and Massachusetts) or by state legislatures (as in Vermont, New Hampshire, New York and Washington DC).
By comparison, in all of the 30 states where referenda have allowed the electorate to have the final say on whether or not marriage should be between one man and one woman only, the majority have always voted for traditional marriage.
In two U.S.states, where homosexual marriage had been legalised, voters have overturned the legislation.
Californians passed Proposition 8, amending the constitution to repeal homosexual marriage.
In Maine, voters exercised their “citizen’s veto” to prevent a same-sex marriage bill, that had been passed by the legislature and signed by the governor, from becoming law.
In contrast, the New York legislature refused moves to allow the state’s voters to have a say on homosexual marriage.
But this has provoked a political counter-reaction. Groups supporting traditional marriage in New York are already organising to repeal this law.
One group, the National Organization for Marriage, has pledged $US2 million to defeat the incumbent senators who switched their votes or reneged on campaign promises.
More importantly, President Obama can no longer stay silent on the issue after the New York legislation. Homosexual marriage is being pushed onto the agenda for the next U.S. presidential election.
Until now, it has been regarded as a peripheral issue in small, liberal U.S. states.
The push for homosexual marriage is just the first step towards dismantling the whole concept of marriage as being between one man and one woman, which underpins the right of children to know and be raised by their biological mother and father.
Matthew Schmitz warns in First Things (June 30, 2011), “As early as 2006 … in the statement ‘Beyond Same-Sex Marriage’, prominent figures including Cornel West, Gloria Steinem, Barbara Ehrenreich and Judith Butler called for the legal recognition of polyamorous households ‘in which there is more than one conjugal partner’.
“Having jettisoned a view of marriage as procreative in nature (and so necessarily a union of a man and a woman), marriage revisionists have also given up on the idea that marriage should last a lifetime or be limited to one partner.
“And just before the New York legislature voted to approve same-sex civil marriage, Katherine M. Franke — a signatory of ‘Beyond Same-Sex Marriage’ — hailed the New York vote with an op-ed for the New York Times that called for putting ‘non-marital ways of loving’ on an equal footing with marriage and same-sex civil marriage.
“Franke, who is the director of the Center for Gender and Sexuality Law at Columbia Law School, argued that non-marital arrangements ‘far exceed, and often improve on, the narrow, legal definition of marriage’.”
Touring celebrity Lady Gaga may be calling on the Australian Government to legalise homosexual marriage, but it would likely cost Labor the next election.
Patrick J. Byrne is vice-president of the National Civic Council.