Marriage changed “radically and forever”

Let’s look at the state of the union…

There are those who define and defend marriage as an institution, and a sacred one, between one man and one woman. Individual states have had a vested interest over the years in upholding  that definition. But those who have redefined marriage and mobilized a movement to change the nation’s laws governing it have won a big victory in New York.

Late Friday night, in an eleventh-hour vote on the issue, the Republican-led Senate voted to legalize same-sex marriage.

The Democratic-led state Assembly had already signed off on the bill, so after the Senate vote, the only remaining piece of business required to turn the bill into law was for Gov. Andrew Cuomo to sign it. He did so just before midnight, making the Empire State the sixth state to legalize same-sex marriage, joining Massachusetts, Iowa, Connecticut, Vermont and New Hampshire. (Same-sex marriage is also legal in Washington, D.C.)

WSJ has a bunch of links to other articles there, including the interesting snips from Reuters:

When New York became the sixth and by far the largest state to legalize same-sex marriage, following a grueling overtime session in the state Legislature on Friday, it immediately transformed the national debate over the issue, legal experts said.

With a population over 19 million — more than the combined population of the five states that currently allow gay marriage, plus the District of Columbia, where it is also legal — New York is poised to provide the most complete picture yet of the legal, social and economic consequences of gay marriage.

Which is to say this is a huge social experiment.

If a significant portion of those couples choose to marry, it could provide a wealth of new information about the practical economic effects of such legislation, from employment and retirement benefits to divorce rates and wedding and tourism industries, said New York Law School professor Arthur Leonard.

Added Leonard: “It becomes less of an experiment the more information we have.”

But how information is handled is another thing. Truths about marriage are relative for some, absolute for others, which is why these social battles have been so passionately engaged. The difference is very revealing in the different reactions.

 The Catholic Church:

Within minutes of the result…the following statement was released by the New York bishops, who provided the measure’s lead institutional opposition:

The passage by the Legislature of a bill to alter radically and forever humanity’s historic understanding of marriage leaves us deeply disappointed and troubled.

We strongly uphold the Catholic Church’s clear teaching that we always treat our homosexual brothers and sisters with respect, dignity and love. But we just as strongly affirm that marriage is the joining of one man and one woman in a lifelong, loving union that is open to children, ordered for the good of those children and the spouses themselves. This definition cannot change, though we realize that our beliefs about the nature of marriage will continue to be ridiculed, and that some will even now attempt to enact government sanctions against churches and religious organizations that preach these timeless truths.

We worry that both marriage and the family will be undermined by this tragic presumption of government in passing this legislation that attempts to redefine these cornerstones of civilization.

Our society must regain what it appears to have lost – a true understanding of the meaning and the place of marriage, as revealed by God, grounded in nature, and respected by America’s foundational principles.

Meanwhile, at the Gay Pride Parade

Two days after the State Senate voted to legalize same-sex marriage, participants in New York’s 42nd annual gay pride parade on Sunday came to shout, dance, cheer, strut, hug and shed tears of joy, knowing that on July 24, when the law takes effect, the season for tears will begin in earnest.

It was a noisy, and jubilant, day in the West Village.

Much of the cheering was aimed at Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, a Democrat, who made legalization of same-sex marriage a part of his election campaign and then led the fight for its approval in the Republican-controlled Senate.

It’s a social moral issue, fundamentally human. But ultimately political. Every time this was put to a vote by the people, all 33 times, the people voted to uphold laws that define marriage as the union of one man and one woman. The politicians they elected decided otherwise.