At noon yesterday, the NYC Pride march stepped off at the intersection of 36th Street and 5th Avenue, ending up at Christopher and Greenwich Streets. This annual event had special meaning this time because it celebrated the legalization of same-sex marriage in New York. Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the bill into law last Friday.
At the parade, Cuomo stated, “It is time for marriage equality.” In a speech last week, he said that New York is now “a beacon for social justice.”
The law includes provisions to protect religious organizations that do not want to participate in same-sex marriage ceremonies: “A religious corporation incorporated under the education law or the religious corporations laws shall be deemed to be in its nature distinctly private and therefore, shall not be required to provide accommodations, advantages, facilities or privileges related to the solemnization or celebration of a marriage.”
Refusal to participate does not create a civil claim or a cause of action. The state or any local government cannot “penalize, withhold benefits, or discriminate against” a religious organization or an organization controlled by a religious corporation that refuses to participate.
The provisions to protect religious organizations were key to getting Republican support for the bill. That phrase, “Republican support for the bill,” may sound odd—but it’s true in this case. As reported in the New York Times on Sunday, Cuomo privately sought help from several top Republican political donors—each with a personal interest in what they saw as protecting the legal freedoms of gay Americans. Winning over those donors was key to swaying other Republican politicians.
But what do YOU think?
How do you feel about the New York law legalizing gay marriage?
If your state doesn’t have a similar law, do you want one?
Is it time for marriage equality in America?
Originally published at www.OurValues.org, an online experiment in civil dialogue on American values.