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

    All this strum und drang and gnashing of teeth as to “how?” and “why” fellow Catholics voted for marriage equality. “They were bribed! “They betrayed us!”, etc. For just a moment, open your mind a teensy bit and just ponder the fact that maybe this whole process helped them grow as compassionate fellow citizens, who, faced with all the facts and information, came to realize that this was the RIGHT thing to do….

  • Eddie
    • Bruce

      Eddie, what is sin?

  • MauraHennessey

    Nothing is more dangerous to marriage than the peonage of the poor and the obliteration of the middle class in the Ryan Budget, which the president of the United States Catholic College of Bishops, Archbishop Timothy Dolan, of New York infamy, supports to the point of publically praising Ryan and holding a Mass for him despite the proposal’s vast differences with Catholic Social teaching.

    If a Prince of the Church can flout the Pope’s teaching on social justice, why should we be bound to its teachings on marriage?
    (With apologies to the late Social Commentator and author, Sidney Jospeh Kennedy)

    • Bruce

      And the winner of the “Most Off-Topic Award” goes to….MauraHennessey! Congrats! 😉 Seriously, though, you’re highlighting 1% of Catholic teaching and misstating the Archbishop’s stance.

  • Kevin

    “Revealed Truth” is used a lot, but my question is: Is it true? Declaring it so doesn’t make it so. Convince me it’s true.

    • Bruce

      It depends, my dear Kevin. According to the definition of marriage, it is an objective reality which requires two human beings of the opposite sex. Only the married couple is capable of forming a single unit designed for procreation – a single biological system ordered toward a specific biological act. A union of complementary bodies, hearts, and minds. All homosexual relationships have, at the end of the day, is friendship. Friendships are nice, but they are not marriages because they do not include a comprehensive union of persons naturally ordered toward procreation (even if they are infertile, the nature of the union remains the same and is of the kind which two men or two women cannot possess). To suggest otherwise is simply to lie or to hold a definition of marriage that is untenable. Take away the complementary of the sexes and the truth of organic union, and all you have is a union of hearts and minds…which is friendships. And friendships which become legally recognized cannot be denied to two, three, or more persons of any persuasion – whether sexual activity is involved or not. Friendships can exist between literally anyone…related, young and old, multiple people, imaginary…etc. If all marriage is, to homosexuals, is close friendship, then it becomes meaningless and does not even need to be recognized by the state. What that does is take away a major motivating factor which serves the common good – the promotion of exclusive unions of men and women for the purpose of their own stability and the rearing of their children…and the right of a child to a father and a mother. Without the state promoting this good, many more will continue to fall short and the state will suffer the consequences of broken homes. Already, the state is losing millions of tax dollars dealing the with wreckage of broken marriages as is…welfare, abuse, etc. What the state needs is to strengthen marriage by keeping it what it is and guarding it from threats such as redefinition. If you think differently, then you must DEFINE marriage first and defend it from scrutiny. Your first problem, once you take away the requirement of opposite sex, is to tell us how you can discriminate against siblings and polyamorous persons and others with friendships no different than homosexuals…be they brothers or otherwise. The truth is, you can’t. Once you have taken out the requirement of opposite sex, there is no such thing as marriage. If you are not “convinced” that this is true, you must either A.) Come up with your own definition and defend it or B.) Be obstinately denying the truth. Your move. :)

  • Sara

    Where was Cathlic vote last week when we needed you? It’s too late now

    • Kara

      Sara- we mobilized our nationwide network of over 500,000 members to call, email and pray for the weeks leading up to this vote. If you aren’t signed up to receive our email alerts, you can sign up by clicking the “Join our Newsletter” button on the bottom bar. Don’t lose hope! We are on the winning side!

    • Thomas Peters

      Sara – do you get the CatholicVote emails? CatholicVote activated its national list twice to take action to defend marriage in New York. You can sign up for our action alerts on the homepage. Thank you.

  • FOD

    When it comes to homosexual marriage, it should be determined by public consent? I wonder if that is what you think when people disagree with the pope’s utter nonsense on condoms and birth control. Is the pope imposing his fantasy world upon Catholics when the majority wise up and decide that condoms and birth control are not morally wrong?

    You people are so easy to see through and are hypocrites. You are on the losing end of a battle. Say what you need to say to rock yourselves to sleep at night, but in 10 years homosexual marriage will be the norm, and the Catholic Church’s idiocy will be in the minority.

    Yes, I dared to call the Catholic Church’s teaching idiocy, because it is. And yes, I am intolerant of the Catholic Church’s teaching on homosexuals. Deal with it. I have no interest in pandering to oversensitive Catholics who think that disagreeing with their outdated dogmas amounts to religious persecution.

    • POD

      Healthy dose of “tolerance” from “tolerant” people is always a good thing.. 😉



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