OK, so I've been doing my research on the same-sex marriage bill that's been presented to the New York Senate. After actually reading it to get all the finer points, I think it's brilliant because it explicitly includes that "no member of the clergy may be compelled to perform any marriage ceremony" which is what the opposition keeps saying will eventually happen. They're trying to scare religious voters into thinking that their religion and their churches are being attacked. THIS IS CLEARLY UNTRUE.
Anyway, let's look at a few things I want all my fellow New Yorkers to do...
1. Before doing anything: READ THE BILL!
As it passed in the NY State Assembly 5/12 (gay bill in da House! *epic roof raising*)
As it's sitting on the table at the NY Senate!!
2. Next: FIND OUT HOW YOUR ASSEMBLY PERSON VOTED!
Click here to find out who it is (this will also give you your Senator for step 3)
Now, find out how they voted (where it says "votes")
Then feel proud if they said YES. Mine did! (Helene Weinstein)
3. Next: HOW ABOUT YOUR SENATOR?
Remember your senator's name, address, and number from #2? Great!
Find out how they stand here!
My senator, Kevin Parker, along with 18 others, introduced the bill at the request of Governor Paterson. It's also supported by the majority leader, so that's 20 we've got so far. That site will even show you which direction the undecided Senators are leaning.
Is yours on that list?
4. If your senator is "undecided" or "no" CALL THEM UP, WRITE TO THEM, or SIGN A PETITION to tell them to vote YES!
If you want to call, don't worry, you will most likely talk to a secretary, anyway. If they're a "no", ask why. Then ask if they believe in the CONSTITUTION. Ask if they believe in the SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE. Remind them that there are 1,324 rights same-sex couples are DENIED. Tell them they are FORCED TO LIE ON GOVERNMENT DOCUMENTS when asked to check "Married or Single" because they're NOT single, they're in committed relationships that have as much emotional validity as an opposite-sex couple! This may seem like no-brainers, but they need to hear it and they need to know. More importantly, they need to know that their citizens feel this way!
5. AND Tell them to bring this to the floor THIS SESSION by voting YES. You know, they don't have to take a vote on this during the 09/10 session, they could just ignore it! Let's not let 'em! On my PTK trip to the state capital last year, we learned that there are many bills that just SIT THERE and don't get signed for whatever reason. Sometimes they're too controversial, seen as unimportant, or Senators don't want to upset their "constituents" by voting either way or voting too soon. They're PAWNS, believe me. WE have to move them.
CALL THEM and let them you that YOU are their constituents and YOU want them to uphold the constitution and the promise of democracy it brings to each citizen of this country BY GETTING THIS BILL SIGNED! Tell them (in a polite way): Don't leave this on the floor because we'll make even more noise next year, and the year after, and the following until it's done.
We're not going to disappear if they ignore the issue.
ALL EYES ARE ON NEW YORK. We're already late on this - let's live up to our reputation of being a more liberal, accepting, "freedom" state!!
*falls off soap box*
Now I have several more arguments against conservative religious people's stance that it goes "against God's will" and yadda, yadda:
A) One of the most fundamental values of Christian doctrine states that all humans have free will by the grace of God (to my understanding, it's the same in Muslim and Jewish doctrine as well, but for obvious reasons, I cite Christian doctrine). According to their own beliefs, God gave us free will so that we may freely choose to follow his teachings as described in the bible and as preached by his son and the prophets. HOW CAN WE FREELY CHOOSE TO DO GOOD OR EVIL IF THE SECULAR LAW DECIDES FOR US? By barring this civil right for a segment of the population, you are taking away their GOD-GIVEN free will to choose how to live their lives.
Some might bring up arguments like "god gives us the free will to murder too! should we have a law that allows that?!" but that's different for the following reason: no one's safety is jeopardized in a consensual relationship. The banning of gay marriage is an attempt to take away the choice of being in a same-sex relationship -or at least make it less appealing- because it's a "lifestyle" that's frowned upon by their religion as well as their own personal values and prejudices. In short, they're trying to force their religious values on secular laws in order to govern your personal relations, whereas the laws of their religion say that every individual has the god-given right to make their own personal choices!! Oh, ho, ho, hypocrisy!
B) Can you walk into your church and get a divorce? NO, you can't. Why? BECAUSE MARRIAGE IS A CIVIL INSTITUTION, NOT A RELIGIOUS ONE**. Likewise, you must obtain a marriage license in order to be LEGALLY married. If civil law can only have jurisdiction over what is civil, then why are there laws governing marriage at all? Because it is a civil institution. Legally, it has nothing to do with your religion, and if it did that would be discriminatory, not to mention unconstitutional. Atheists and other non-Christians can get married. So, not only does the right to marriage need to be separated from religious ideals, but also the civil institution of marriage must be extended to ALL couples.
**I'm not ignoring that marriage is seen as a religious institution by many people, I'm saying that as citizens, it is first and foremost a civil institution.
C) Are Christian priests forced to marry Hindu couples? Jewish couples? Atheist couples? No. Likewise, they should not and would not be asked to marry homosexual couples. DUH. So right-wing conservative fundamentalists need to chill-the-fuck-out and stop making slippery-slope arguments that don't make no damned sense. Don't be intimidated by the bullshit arguments they throw: we CAN check the facts, we have, and they're wrong. NEXT.
D) New York State now recognizes same-sex marriages issued in other states and jurisdictions.
Let me restate that: if Adam and Steve got married in Canada, their marriage is now valid in New York, but if Ally and Eve want to wait until they can get married at home in New York, they're not a valid committed couple in their own home.
Yes, this is an important step forward; however, this clearly makes a fist-class/second-class dynamic by validating only some same-sex couples and not others. New York couples who have gone outside their home state to get married are valued more than couples who haven't. Let's ignore how unfair and unintentionally (?) class-biased that is for a moment and realize that not every couple CAN do that and not every couple WANTS to.
...Actually, let's go there with the class-bias thing: This law is essentially saying "we'll validate your committed relationship if you have the economic means and leisure of going outside of your home state to get married" ...that's fucked up. That's like saying we'll only recognize straight couples that can get hitched in Vegas. These days, even interstate travel (especially through long distances) is just not affordable for many people. And the cost of marriage licenses and getting transportation for your family and friends, etc will also add to the burden. Also, states like Massachusetts do not let residents of other states get married. This further limits the choices of same-sex couples when it comes to getting married elsewhere.
Besides, why should these couples be forced to go away from home to get married? If anything I'd want to get married in my town where I can share my joyful time with neighbors, family, and friends. I wouldn't want to be a foreigner in the place I get married. I don't want to have to make a pilgrimage to a Marriage Mecca whereas my straight neighbors are validated and respected by the laws of the same streets on which we live. It's just not fair. No one should have to leave their state, their home, their place of work and worship in order to receive a damned piece of paper signifying what should be a civil right!
And here comes another problem (and obvious solution):
E) Taxes, license fees, tourism revenue, etc. is going to other states when the money could stay here in NY and generate an estimated 2-something-million ANNUALLY (OK, so I forgot the actual figure stated, sue me. Just know that it's a significant amount). Let's not forget that most same-sex couple households are "double income, no kids", also known as "taxed like crazy" or "income tax revenue increase = $tate win$". But instead, we hear that it would cost wholesome, tax-paying (read the prejudice: "straight", "normal", "good") families lots of money, and then we'd have to cut funding for education! O.M.G.! NO, not the childrens!!!11!!!1one!! Bullshit. No one's cutting education in favor of gay marriage, relax. I think someone's been drinking 'reductio ad absurdum' flavored Haterade. These folks might as well say "gay marriage destroys our children's education!" but I guess putting it that way makes it sound as dumb as it is.
So the moral of the story is, opposing gay marriage is stupid no matter how you slice it. We should be educated about how to get this happening in our state. Pass it on to your friends and anyone who will listen (without beating you up or getting you kicked out =D).
I hope I helped bring some light on this issue and why I feel it's important. To be honest, I don't personally support the institution of marriage at all, but it means the world to many people, both gay and straight and everything in between. It's clear that despite my feelings about marriage, it is an important social institution that has deep social, economic, religious/spiritual, personal, interpersonal, and cultural meanings. So for all the reasons I stated above and for all those that I forgot, this should be available to ALL citizens of this so-purported "great country" (in quotations because it has yet to live up to its name if "free" is what's meant by "great", as it so often is).
p.s. Please comment if you find errors or falsehoods anywhere in this post! Thanks!