Honorable Senators of the Great State of New York:
The Senate of New York sits as the most distinguished rulers of the foremost of the United States of America.Through your incentive and direction, you bring prosperity to businesses great and small, and through your prudent judgment, law and order is established.
Today I ask the attention of the great Senators of New York on behalf of many common New Yorkers whose opinions have been shouted down and drowned out in a relentless storm of criticism in the past years.I act as the director for a grassroots organization called the Community Guardians Group.We work to call attention in the public sphere to the eternal values that have been entrusted to this nation’s deep rooted religious traditions.
A great deal of attention has been directed to the honorable Senators with the goal of eliciting their votes on the meaning of marriage. You have been lobbied by those who maintain that marriage is a civil right that should be denied to no one, regardless of who he or she chooses to embrace as a partner.There are others, myself included, who insist that human beings are called to govern themselves and will be held accountable to the moral order of G-d Almighty, Who has taught us that acts of intimacy should be restricted to the bond of marriage between a man and a woman.
But it’s not in the name of religious liberty that I address you today.There is a principle that may be even more fundamental to this country than religious liberty.I’m talking about the state’s protection of the freedom of association.
Part and parcel of the freedom of speech is the ability of citizens to freely organize themselves and associate with common goals.The Constitution of this state and nation guarantee its citizens the freedom of association.
Every single couple who has married in this state until today entered the contract of marriage under the exact same set of assumptions.But with the expansion of the definition of marriage to include two men or two women, these married couples cower in the shadow of a government that threatens to make a mockery of the most central relationship of their lives.
We need not cite religious texts or ethical works to demonstrate how expanding the definition of marriage violates the freedom of association.We can learn the extent of the intrusion of the government’s manhandling the meaning of marriage from studies of gay and lesbian couples themselves.
A study released in July of 2010 by Colleen Hoff of the San Francisco State University Center for Research on Gender and Sexuality, revealed that the image of the “long-term, committed” relationship between two men or two women is really a fiction. A vast majority of these “long term” relationships do not embrace a commitment to monogamy. They are “open” relationships with each partner engaging in relations with third parties on the side.
The presence of relationships that call themselves “married” but do not share a fundamental commitment to monogamy is an intrusion in the freedom of association of married couples who pride themselves and struggle to preserve the sanctity of loyalty and fidelity in their marriages.
Marriage is an exclusive union, a private commitment of vows given public force by law.The state’s recognition of marriage is a benefit given exclusively to a select group of relationships that are deemed advantageous to the public good.
I would like to thank Senator Golden, Senator Libous and Senator Diaz for their courageous sponsorship of the Defense of Marriage Act for New York.With this bill, the Honorable Senators are called to define our moral borders that we share with our sister states.
In 2008, Governor Paterson ordered that all state agencies give full effect to marriages between two men or two women performed out of state.This order, based on a Fourth Department ruling with flimsy reasoning, forced the great state of New York to subordinate herself to the leadership of her sister states and surrender her own judgment on the issue of marriage.
There has been a longstanding tradition for New York law to give deference to those marriages performed out of state, even if they would have been prohibited from being legally formed in New York.But such a “recognition rule” is completely inapplicable here.The “recognition rule” was grounded on concerns for the welfare of children who might suffer shame if they were branded bastards according to New York law, should the state refuse to recognize the marriage performed out of state of their parents.This policy reflected an era where it was actually considered to be a social stigma for a baby to be born out of wedlock.
As you know, the social mores of this state have changed drastically since those days and many people will tell you that it is no longer a social stigma for a child to be born out of wedlock.Granting recognition of same-sex marriages performed out of state does nothing to erase a stigma of a child’s being born a bastard.By definition, that crucial egg or sperm cell will always be required in a same sex marriage to be donated by a third party.
But more than that, a study recently issued by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (“Family Structure and Children’s Health in the United States”) found that children who are not raised by their biological parents together fare much worse than children in traditional nuclear families, in terms of behavioral problems, emotional and learning disabilities, and access to needed medical and dental care.Inevitably the responsibility for providing care and services for these neglected children ends up being shouldered by the taxpayers of the State.
I urge each and every one of the noble Senators to do everything in his or her power to protect the freedom of association of New Yorkers.Reaffirm your belief in the power of the people to maintain the cherished institution of marriage, by bringing the Defense of Marriage Act forward and voting it into law.
In the end, the remarkable feature of this constitutional government of our great nation is its unbounded resiliency.The freedom of association manages to find its way to the surface despite attempts to squelch it.You may know from personal experience cases where the claims to historical inevitability or the wisdom of party bosses has been deposed by the collective will of ordinary people who show up to make their voices heard. This is the freedom of association in action as the people stand up to take back what they are due.
We thank the Senators for their wise leadership and kind assistance, in making New York one of the best places to live in this world.We wish the noble Senators the blessing of G-d’s grace in proportion to their efforts to preserve the respect and integrity of G-d’s will.Our group stands ready to assist the Senators should they wish to seek counsel on this or other issues of eternal value in the future.