Politics Magazine

Love and Marriage in New York

Posted on the 27 June 2011 by Erictheblue

Not everyone is happy about the passage, in New York late Friday night, of a bill extending the right to marry to same-sex couples:

Brian Brown, president of the conservative National Organization for Marriage, vowed to seek defeat of the New York Republicans who helped the marriage bill pass.  He also predicted victory for the amendment to ban gay marriage next year in Minnesota, and said this would belie the claims that the same-sex marriage campaign would inevitably prevail nationwide.

"We've won every free, fair vote of the people," Brown said Saturday.  "Backroom deals in Albany are not an indication of what people in this country think about marriage."

New York's state senate has 62 members.  Currently, 32 are Republicans and 30 are Democrats.  Among the Dems, the vote was 29-1, and, among the Rs, 4-28.  That makes 33 for and 29 against--a new law soon as Governor Cuomo could sign, which he has now done.  It might seem that Mr. Brown and his group should have more than four targets, but, happily, it is only with the Republicans that they have any pull.  Roy McDonald, from Saratoga, is one of the four Republicans with wrong thoughts about marriage.  Here he is explaining himself:

"You get to the point where you evolve in your life where everything isn't black and white, good and bad, and you try to do the right thing," McDonald, 64, told reporters. 

"You might not like that.  You might be very cynical about that.  Well, fuck it, I don't care what you think.  I'm trying to do the right thing."

I do like it.  Here is McDonald's colleague, Jim Alesi, Republican from the Rochester area:

I'm a Republican. I was born that way. . . .   There was a time when I had anguish over voting on marriage equality.  I no longer have anguish.  I am voting yes. . . .  [I've] lost what I thought were a lot of good friends, people that supported me.  And when I told them . . . I am committed to giving people that live in America what every American wants, they told me I was no longer their friend.  [Pause.]  I think I have some new friends.

It appears to me that these fellows can likely hold their own against Mr. Brown and the National Organization for Marriage.  Nevertheless, it is fun to try and fill in the spaces of his argument.  First, decisions rendered by judges are illegitimate.  Now the vote of the New York legislature, and the approval of the governor, all individuals voted into office by the people of New York, is likewise a nullity.  They have no idea "what people in this country think about marriage."  When people vote, as they will in Minnesota in 2012, then we'll see "what people in this country think about marriage."

It seems that the argument against same-sex marriage is not much more than a querulous and increasingly dubious appeal to public opinion.  The young are for it, and some of the not-so-young, like Jim Alesi, from Rochester, and Roy McDonald, from Saratoga, are changing their minds. 


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