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“Tradition” And Gay Marriage

It is disappointing but not surprising that Senator Morahan will vote against equality for all New Yorkers.

His reason, that he is a ‘€œtraditionalist,’€ raised the question’€¦..’€A traditionalist to what year?’ To 1860 when slavery was legally and traditionally entrenched in the United States, to 1915 when women couldn’t vote, to 1962 when many states forbid marriage between races, to the 70’s when many states still gave men full power over their spouses? Should we return to the traditional role of women? Stay home and out of the work force, and certainly not in public office?

The save the family group might better serve the cause of preserving marriage by looking at heterosexual marriage. 50% fail and as we have seen in recent weeks with elected officials their marriages don’t seem to have much value.

Equality in the marriage contract does not encompass religious beliefs. The Catholic Church, for example, is not required to marry divorced couples.

The state, on the other, cannot deny marriage licenses to divorced people.

As the mayor of a small village I have officiated at many marriages. Marriage is a legal contract between individuals. The state attached many legal rights to marriage, pensions rights, medical visitation, and decision rights, and responsibilities, including child support when couples separate.

None of the 1500 plus rights that the state has attached to marriage transfer in civil unions.

Since the state decided to impose legal rights and responsibilities on to marriage, and decided to treat it as a legal contract, it has an obligation to honor all such contracts to individuals, regardless of gender. To do any less is to arbitrarily designate rights on citizens base on a tradition and’€¦.and what else?

John Shields is the Mayor of Nyack, NY

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