Old-time, backroom politics faced down hundreds of chanting protesters from each side of the highly charged gay marriage debate in New York on Monday as the issue stalled again over whether religious groups could be protected from discrimination charges under a same-sex marriage law.
And Albany’s notoriously entrenched politics won, for now.
After a three-hour conference behind closed doors, while groups from each side waited in a stifling hot hallway, Senate Republicans emerged without comment. A vote within the conference to even move the bill to the floor for final legislative approval was pushed to at least Tuesday as private negotiations continue between Republican Senate leader Dean Skelos and Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who made same-sex marriage a major initiative.
This doesn’t mean too much for either side right now. Perhaps there will be language that allows religious individuals to refuse to marry gay couples, but I hope that it is very, very limited. After all, it isn’t like it’s okay for a state-employed notary to refuse marriage to a black couple, so why carve out a difference concerning gay couples? Of course, that is what they’re doing when it comes to private organizations, but they need to be equally careful there.
What I find interesting about this whole thing is the sort of arguments coming from the religious right. Of course we still have all those invalid arguments from religion. Apparently it was never explained to these people that the U.S. government is secular; it, in fact, does not endorse or condemn Christianity. But what we don’t have anymore is the argument that we must – we just MUST! – follow the will of the people. The reason why is obvious:
Support for marriage equality/same-sex marriage/gay marriage is at a new high in New York, according to today’s new Quinnipiac Poll…Voters in the survey backed legalizing marriage between same-sex couples 58-36%, “higher than ever while statistically unchanged from 56-38% April 14.”