Legalization of same-sex marriage leaves community divided

Nearly a week after Governor Andrew Cuomo announced New YorkState’s legalization of same-sex marriage, some southwesternBrooklynites rejoiced at the long-awaited news, but others wereleft reeling with disappointment.

Eric Rouda, the president of the Senator Street 300-BlockAssociation, said he was thrilled that he now has the option ofmarrying his male partner of 21 years.

But, Mike Long, Bay Ridge resident and chairperson of the NewYork conservative party, believes the legalization of same-sexmarriage will lead to the deterioration of New York State as awhole.

We’re talking about a law that goes very deep, and in allhonesty affects the cornerstone of western society and changes thedefinition of marriage from one man and one woman, Long said.[This law] will make New York a Mecca for same-sex marriage. I’drather be a Mecca for the growth of new businesses, jobs and aplace where people can grow a family.

Lawmakers came to consensus on Friday night, June 24, with atight 33-to-29 vote, making New York the sixth and largest state inthe nation to allow gay marriage, a move that Cuomo – one of thelaw’s chief proponents in Albany — greeted as a monumental stepfor the state.

With the world watching, the legislature, by a bipartisan vote,has said that all New Yorkers are equal under the law. With thisvote, marriage equality will become a reality in our state,delivering long overdue fairness and legal security to thousands ofNew Yorkers, he said.

Nonetheless, State Senator Marty Golden of Bay Ridge, who hadlong expressed his opposition to same-sex marriage and was the onlyBrooklyn state senator to vote against it, made his dissatisfactionclear.

I do not feel that the religious protections in this bill wereadequate, nor were they effective, and they were not nearly asstrong as suggested during the negotiations, Golden said. I wantto reiterate once again that an issue of this magnitude should havebeen given to the people of this great state to decide, not 62 menand women.

Golden was not the only area legislator to vote against themeasure. While State Senator Diane Savino and Assemblymember FelixOrtiz supported it, Assemblymembers Nicole Malliotakis, Dov Hikindand Peter Abbate voted against it.

That division was reflected in local streets. Justin Brannan,the president of the Bay Ridge Democrats, called the decision onesmall step for New York State, one giant leap for the human race,and Sunset Park resident Lisa Mazurkiewicz noted, I think it is OKthat they can marry who they are in love with. I don’t see aproblem with it.

Those who oppose the law mustered other arguments.

I’m against it [because of] my religious teachings. God createdman and woman, one for each other, said Irene J. of Bay Ridge,echoing the staunch opposition of New York City Catholic ArchbishopTimothy Dolan and Nicholas DiMarzio, the bishop of Brooklyn.

It’s disgusting. Two guys getting married. How are they goingto have babies? It doesn’t make sense, added Nigel J.

As the debate heats up around the city and state, Steven Amoreof Bay Ridge understands both sides, and implores his fellow NewYorkers to do the same instead of demeaning those with the oppositeview.

To [gay marriage supporters], be respectful to those who don’tshare your views and don’t immediately accuse them of being hatefulor homophobic, Amore said. To [those against it], don’t see thelaw as a loss or deterioration of American society, and be patientwith the law….Above all, treat one another with love andrespect.

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