“Gay Marriage”: New York’s Latest Love Canal

Acrimonious and bitter is the fight in America about giving legal approval to gay and lesbian sexual activity.  Polarization about putting same-sex unions on a par with traditional marriage pits members of New York City’s elite against one another.  Catholic Archbishop Timothy Dolan said he was “very disappointed, very saddened and very worried” by the legislative passage of the bill.  Whereas the city’s mayor, billionaire secularist Michael Bloomberg, rejoiced as he marched in Manhattan’s Gay Pride parade waving the movement’s rainbow flag.  Marching at his side was Governor Andrew Cuomo – renegade Catholic, divorced and parading with his live-in girlfriend.  Meanwhile across the East River, Nicholas Dimarzio, Bishop of Brooklyn, expressed the chagrin felt by loyal Catholics:

Today, Governor Andrew Cuomo and the state legislature have deconstructed the single most important institution in human history. Republicans and Democrats alike succumbed to powerful political elites and have passed legislation that will undermine our families and as a consequence, our society…. In light of these disturbing developments and in protest for this decision, I have asked all Catholic schools to refuse any distinction or honors bestowed upon them this year by the governor or any member of the legislature who voted to support this legislation. Furthermore, I have asked all pastors and principals to not invite any state legislator to speak or be present at any parish or school celebration.  The above request is intended as a protest of the corrupt political process in New York State. More than half of all New Yorkers oppose this legislation. Yet, the governor and the state legislature have demonized people of faith, whether they be Muslims, Jews, or Christians, and identified them as bigots and prejudiced, and voted in favor of same-sex “marriage.”

Anthony Cuomo and Anthony Weiner – the disgraced Congressman from Brooklyn and Queens – have demonstrated how readily and willingly some New Yorker politicians will inflict festering sores upon the body politic.  Then there is NY Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who personifies the corruption associated with big money in politics.  For his own political interest in securing yet another reelection, he managed to push the City Council into thwarting the will of the citizens of NYC who had passed term limits via two referendums.

The likes of Bloomberg, Cuomo, and Weiner have no scruples about running roughshod over such principles as the consent of the governed ­– the principle of our republic enshrined in the Declaration of Independence.  Echoing Massachusetts’ governor Deval Patrick’s highhanded ways in the Bay State, the people of New York will be denied any opportunity to vote on the matter.

The political elites prefer to ignore the preference the people have demonstrated for retaining the definition of marriage held from time immemorial.  Across the country, America’s political class (as identified, for example, in Rasmussen Reports) is viscerally disinclined to let the people themselves decide the country’s direction.

In all 31 states where the issue has been put to a vote, traditional marriage has prevailed.  Consequently, the announced campaign to amend the state constitution and empower New Yorkers with the referendum is doomed.  The Empire State’s political class will surely intervene and crush any such move toward genuine democracy.

Not only do they undermine a basic principle of the republic, i.e. consent of the governed, but the political class has no qualms about putting our civilization at risk.  As Archbishop Dolan stated after the SSM vote, “I think society and culture is at its peril if we presume to tamper with what has been given and already cherished through the history of civilization.”

Furthermore, particular members of that class who call themselves Catholic add insult to injury by reinforcing cafeteria Catholicism, and by scandalizing those who respect the Church’s Magisterial teaching.  When Cuomo and his girlfriend, Sandra Lee, received the Holy Eucharist at this year’s Epiphany mass, it emboldened a likeminded columnist for the Huffington Post, Michelle Somerville.  A self-described foe of “lockstep Catholicism,” she wrote that Cuomo‘s sacrilege “dispensed a bit of grace.”  How so?  Because, said Somerville, the Governor announced by his example “that he will not be told by men how to be Catholic.  He announced his intention to trust God – and not a cabal of men in miters and lace – to decide whether he was worthy to receive Holy Communion.”

There is, thankfully, a small glimmer of light in New York’s otherwise dark decision.  Not all the legislators were devoid of good will, and they managed to extract concessions for religious liberty.  Under the new law, churches and parish centers can, with impunity, refuse to host SSM ceremonies.  Nor will the Knights of Columbus have to rent halls out for same-sex wedding receptions.  And the law contains an important proviso:  if some panel of judges should void any of the religious exemptions, then the statute provides for its own nullification.  Voiding of the religious immunities would automatically void the entire SSM law.

Regretfully, it seems unlikely that some bungling judicial meddler will cause the whole execrable piece of legislation to self-destruct.  Would, however, that by fair means or foul, we might be liberated from this latest abomination!

As it stands, the law constitutes a sort of Love Canal II.  Recall that in the mid-1970s, the city of Niagara Falls, NY, authorized a housing development on a chemical waste landfill.  Cancers in kids and adults, mutations in babies, afflicted unsuspecting people in this most unloving Love Canal project. 

But unlike the original atrocity, confined as it was to about 36 square blocks, the SSM legislation might spread its toxic effects deep into the bowels of our country’s culture.  Already, Mayor Bloomberg is promising a “NYC I do” campaign to sell the most populous U.S. city as a gay-wedding destination.  Well, Mr. Mayor, why don’t you adopt a slogan more perversely appropriate – like “poison to the people?”

Bob Struble is a retired history teacher, and a writer of books, articles and poems. He is Lecturer for the Knights of Columbus in Bremerton WA, and is an associate editor at Catholic Lane.
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