In NY, A (Temporary) Setback for Marriage

Tonight the New York Senate voted to redefine marriage to include same-sex relationships by a close vote of 33-29.

In the final day of intense backdoor lobbying, two republicans –both Catholics– broke with the Republican party and voted for the gay marriage bill, ignoring the bishops of New York who said today they opposed the bill “in the strongest possible terms.”

The bill will now be signed into law by Catholic Governor Andrew Cuomo. I’m sure we’ll be hearing more about this situation in the coming days and weeks.

Advocates for religious freedom did force the New York assemblies, in the 11th hour, to adopt stronger religious protections than they had originally proposed – but the amendment’s language was only made public this afternoon and was immediately voted into law, disallowing any real opportunity for the language to be examined by legal experts (incidentally, a New York law requiring bills to be posted for the public to see 72 hours before being voted upon was suspended to rush the bill through the process).

Whenever a setback in the fight to protect marriage take places, it’s important not to lose perspective. The media is quick to amplify “defeats” for traditional marriage, and barely mentions victories of those who believe marriage is exclusively the union of one man and one woman.

Here are some quick things to recall about the struggle to protect marriage:

  • Efforts to redefine marriage in Maryland and Rhode Island, both deeply liberal states, were defeated this year. New York was the last chance activists had to try to redefine marriage in a state this year.
  • Minnesota and Indiana both witnessed positive movement this year towards defining marriage more securely as the union of husband and wife. Other states will soon follow suit.
  • 31 States, so far, have voted for traditional marriage when they have put it to the people.
  • The NY legislature has imposed gay marriage on the state. If it had gone to a vote of the people of New York – traditional marriage would have won. 57% of New Yorkers reject same-sex marriage. Advocates for redefining marriage know they lack popular majority support – which is why always resist allowing people to vote on the issue. New York was no exception to this rule.
  • According to a new comprehensive poll released by the Alliance Defense Fund, 62% of Americans favor traditional marriage (yes, you read that right).
  • The National Organization for Marriage (where I work) has pledged “at least” $2 million dollars to reversing same-sex marriage in NY. Votes against marriage and family will have real consequences.

I could say much more, but these are some of the most important points to make now. We can expect the media to be full of headlines and talking heads proclaiming the “death” of traditional marriage and vilifying those who hold fast to it in the days ahead. Don’t let it get to you. Popularity and acceptance were never attributes Christ promised His disciples they would get to enjoy.

Catholics, for our part, must commit ourselves tonight, more than ever, to fully understanding the good reasons why marriage exists only between a man and a woman, and become more prepared to articulate those reasons with courage and conviction in the public square, as well as to actively participate in the political process and influence a culture that is confused and deceived about what is really at stake here.

In the end, real love and truth will win. Of that I have precisely no doubt.

On a personal note, thank you so much to all of you who prayerfully and proactively have supported my efforts to protect marriage in New York these past few weeks. I owe you a great debt of gratitude. Thank you most of all for your patience as I was forced to dedicate my time and attention to covering this important issue, often times to the detriment of reporting and commenting on other issues near and dear to my heart.

Tonight we rest and reflect, tomorrow is a new day, and by God’s grace, a better one.



  • Larry

    My take on this is as an outside observer (not a US citizen),is that the place where much of the US and European Church (Catholic and Protestant) have fallen down greatly with regards to this issue, is by not stating clearly and forcefully that homosexual acts (gay sex) are sinful and unnatural.If you don’t state that forcefully then making the case against gay marriage is almost pointless and will be a hard one to make, even to some who attend church.

  • Davide

    @Tom I going to have this long comment regarding this post but I will appear to be arrogant and smug to American sensitivities. I mean you no offense but this post has a certain virgin/gullible outlook. The American Catholic Church is to blame for the passage of this bill. What we refuse to accept or in total ignorant of, is when sin flourishes it is because the Church is weak. The American Church will lose this battle over same-sex marriages like it losing the battle in birth-contol, abortion, divorce. Unless the American Bishops grow a pair and start acting like Apostles of Jesus Christ. I do ask what has the Church become? Has the Church been reduced to just another special interest, with lobbyists and bureaucracies and commissions and all that crap?  Has the Church in this country been co-opted by the American political process?
    I think familiarity with history tends to fire Catholic traditionalism.  When I think back to how Popes and bishops endured imprisonment, threats of death (even death), horrendous privations, great financial penalties, and more, in order to defend the rights of the Church in prior times, I find today’s efforts to assert those rights…..underwhelming. We have a serious scandal in this country of individuals constantly trading on their Catholic identity and self-proclaimed ‘good standing’ in the Church, who are actually cut off from the life sustainnig Grace that flows from the Sacraments, whether they receive the Eucharist or not (in which case, they actually condemn themselves even more). In the past, when a person was declared excommunicated, no Catholic in good standing could have anything to do with them.  This served a double purpose – to keep the excommunicated person’s errors from spreading, and to hopefully exert enough pressure through shunning to bring the person back in line with the Faith.   But we’re smarter now….we treat them like they’re just fine, nothing wrong whatsoever, and even allow them to present and receive the Blessed Sacrament. Is there any wonder many Catholics don’t take Church Doctrine seriously anymore? 
    I blame the leaders of the American Church for most our problems because they are weak. The American Church did NOT speak out against same-sex marriages in “the strongest of possible” terms. Except for Dolan they were mostly silent and Dolan didn’t begin to speak of it until recent weeks. It was the orthodox Jews since January who has been fighting this. Today the Bishops of New York signed letter in protest regarding same-sex “marriages”-whoopty freaken’ do. Why didn’t they have a joint statement months ago, weeks ago, days ago? Who gives a crap about a protest letter!! The harm is done. You say in this post “the National Organization for Marriage (who I work with) has pledged “at least” $2 million dollars to reversing same-sex marriage in NY. Votes.” I say good luck! You would be better off feeding the hungry and clothing the naked with this money. Do you realize how nearly impossible it is to take a right away (even if it is a false right) from people once it has been given them? You be better off pissing in a windstorm and coming out dry. Catholics are confused about doctrine because the leaders are weak. If the American Catholic Church was faithful and strong this same-sex “marriage” law would have never passed. After all it was Catholics who advocated and voted for it. What the American Catholic Church needs is a handful of Italian bishops to come over and clean house. You don’t see this crap happening over there do you? Do you know why? Because the Italian bishops are not afraid to speak truth!! They call homosexual advocacy “filth” and same-sex “marriages”- “evil” and of same-sex couples adopting children “child trafficking”. Tom we need to be part of the solution not problem. The American Catholic church needs a purification. We must not forget most of the abuses of children came from this same church and for years and years it was the weakness and cowardly of bishops who allowed it. A Saint once said “the floor of Hell is paved with the skulls of Bishops” think about that! Then you will realize that everything I have said here is true.

    • Fred

      You have your points Davide. Yet you seem to be missing one huge point. I don’t think Thomas really cares about the Chuch, the flaws it has, or it’s weak bishops. Thomas is more interested in the Republican party. This is what makes this astonishingly funny. That two Republican Catholics crossed over. Not those damn liberal democrats. It was two Catholic Republicans. So much for just voting Republican, and that will solve all the worlds problems. Or you must vote Republican, because they sin so much less and they wont pass laws that encourage sinful behavior. I love this. Not because I care about marriage between same sex individuals. I really dont care. I love it, because it just shows you what this site really is about. The Republican Party. AS ALWAYS, this will likely not make it through. It’s because the truth is what really hurts.

      • Bruce

        Fred, methinks you doth care too much about politics and political parties that, in the span of the Church, amount to a fart in the wind.

  • Ttown

    Why didn’t Magic Sky Daddy answer your prayers?

    I guess He wanted all people to be able to marry.

    • Bruce

      Why is there something rather than nothing? I’ll wait for your answer. :)

  • Gerry

    Don’t let them fool you. The only poll that counts about same-sex pseudo-marriage is at the ballot box.

  • St. Villainous

    Thomas, thank you for the perspective.

  • Percy

    The NOM poll is seriously flawed and not statistically well designed. I know that won’t prevent you from flogging it, but in this day and age, that’s only helpful to the choir, not the people you need to persuade.

    Other, more statistically neutral or reliable polls, show at least a plurality of NYers in favor of SSM, and a majority in favor of SSM or civil unions.

    And, the strongest opponents are the ones who are most likely to die sooner. The generational shift here is extremely marked.



Receive our updates via email.