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Bed-Stuy Residents Speak Out On Same-Sex Marriage In New York

Gov. Cuomo's Attempt To Redefine Marriage Sparks Opposition And Support

Since taking over office as governor last November, Andrew Cuomo has vowed to make passing a same-sex marriage law in New York a priority.

And now, as the state legislature nears the end of another session, Cuomo, a Democrat, is pushing for legislators to get on board an issue he feels is a “fundamental civil-rights battle.”

Currently, only Connecticut, Massachusetts, Iowa, New Hampshire, Vermont and the District of Columbia allow same-sex marriage in the U.S.

The last time New York tried to recognize same-sex marriage, in 2009, it failed in the Republican-controlled Senate by a vote of 38-24.

Despite recent polls stating that most New Yorkers are in favor of passing same-sex marriage, opposition from supporters of traditional marriage remains fierce, as religious groups and other conservative activists claim that Cuomo is playing to his liberal base while attempting to destroy the sanctity of marriage as a whole.

While most Republicans do not favor gay marriage, they are in support of civil unions. However, gay advocates say that’s not enough.

Supporters of gay marriage have until June to get a bill on the House floor in order for same-sex to have a chance of passing this year.

This week, BSP asked Bed-Stuy residents for their opinions on the contentious issue:

“I don’t agree," said Michael Vest. "I think men are supposed to marry women; that’s my view from a Christian perspective.”

Jason Coleman, a 26-year-old computer tech walking along Fulton Street back to work, concurred. “I don’t care what the next man does, but God didn’t intend for two men to get married nor two women. That just makes everything untraditional. After you pass same-sex marriage you’re just throwing religion out the door.”

“It’s not a good idea to have same sex marriages,” said Wendy, a resident walking along Fulton Street. “It’s about Adam and Eve, not Steve and whoever.”

“I don’t believe in same-sex marriage, but to each their own. If that’s what the people want to do... but I don’t believe that it should be a law,” said another Bed-Stuy resident who declined to give her name.

“I don’t support same-sex marriage, so I can’t condone trying to accept it,” said Bernadette Okeke, an administrator who works in human resources.

While most Bed-Stuy residents we spoke to were in favor of traditional marriage, there were still some who agreed with the governor’s position:

“You love who you love,” said Jennifer Sales, a 48-year-old cook who has a gay daughter. “It’s not for us to judge. When it’s time to meet the maker, we’ll know if it’s right or if it’s wrong.”

“I don’t really care about same-sex marriage,” said Herbert Rhymer, a retired day laborer. “If that’s what they want to do let them do it, it doesn’t bother me.”

When asked for his stance on New York passing same-sex marriage, Bryan Adams, a local resident shopping at a food stand on Kingston Avenue was more direct: “I believe that if they can pay taxes, if they can fight [wars] they should be able to get married just as me and you do.”

Net Lag Oner May 20, 2011 at 04:17 PM
This is a civil rights issue. Just as women, hispanics, African-Americans and many other groups have been denied basic civil rights here in the United States and around the world. People do not choose to be gay. We are allowing American citizens to be denied a civil right and it's not ok if you're straight to standby and say I don't care. This is not a gay/straight/religious agenda... it's about basic civil rights and until we stand up for equality in all areas then we cannot say we are a full democratic society with "And Justice For All."
Melissa Danielle May 20, 2011 at 04:21 PM
Hello Mr. Adams! This whole thing is ludicrous. You have to get a marriage license in order for your union to be legally recognized by the State and to be able to receive specific benefits that marriage bestows, like health insurance, spousal benefits, tax benefits, estate and medical concerns, etc. And we acknowlege a separation between church and state, but marriage gets to blur the lines? This entire issue is irrational and a denial of all of our civil rights, just like the miscegenation laws of time back when.
Net Lag Oner May 20, 2011 at 04:29 PM
Exactly Melissa. This piece is chock full of people excusing civil rights laws based on some "religion." Again... why is it ok to excuse discrimination based on religion? Such a cop-out.
Joseph A. Mustich May 20, 2011 at 04:59 PM
Marriage is firstly a civil and contractual matter in America. Period. Onward to full marriage equality rights now! Cheers, Joe Mustich, CT Justice of the Peace Marriage cops just go play bingo.
Candide08 May 20, 2011 at 05:23 PM
"opposition from supporters of traditional marriage remains fierce" So what? If ONE person objects, but is "fierce" enough we should not do something? The MAJORITY of the country, and NY State, supports same sex marriage, only prudish, up-tight religious homophobes oppose it.
Parksloper May 20, 2011 at 07:59 PM
Umm, it's not just conservatives/republicans. People forget how religious blacks and spanish people are. They, along with Asians, were the main reasons this law didn't pass in Ca. We Are Democrats- We Accept The Bible: NY Dem Rep Rubén Díaz Leads Rally Against Gay Marriage http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sDP-9lri3Ak&feature=player_embedded
Henry May 20, 2011 at 08:50 PM
proponents of anti-miscegenation laws also used to cite the Bible.
Robert Hagedorn May 21, 2011 at 12:23 AM
According to the story God really did make Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve. I know, this is getting old and tired. But it's still true. However, Adam and Steve could have done the same thing Adam and Eve did. Do a search: First Scandal.
Henrietta Koffi May 21, 2011 at 12:50 AM
As a parent I'd want all my kids to be happily married - regardless of who they fall in love with. To deny someone else basic rights just because they aren't exactly like you? Come on. Why shouldn't people who love each other be able to be married legally. Because you say so? The people interviewed in this article sound like they haven't even thought through their answers.
Kellie Friesen May 22, 2011 at 03:22 AM
Thank you, commenters (except for what's-his-name)!! I'm always so disheartened when reminded that there are still homophobes in this day and age. Even though their numbers are few (and constantly dwindling), their voices are loud and shrill enough to make me forget this at times. Let's hope this "battle" will soon become another sad, shameful chapter in our history - one at which our descendants will shake their heads and wonder "WTF?!?! What kind of despicable savages were our ancestors?!" Please hang in there!!
Kris January 19, 2013 at 02:45 AM
I agree, but by fighting for same sex marriage, you are endorsing the discriminatory institution of marriage, also there are issues like same-sex custody , bisexuality, and other grounds in which even though their are unequal rights for same sex couples, equity rather than equality may be sought, not an endorsement of current discriminatory practices but rather a way forward on the issues.
Kris January 19, 2013 at 02:47 AM
I don't think people who don't support same sex marriage are necessarily bigots and homophobes, for instance if a jew doesn't eat pork, that's fine although he has not right to tell others to do so, marriage in itself is a discriminatory institution, those who fight for same-sex couples to enter the institution, must ask do I want to be a part of it, or what is the reason for it? For instance same-sex marriage has benefits, but there may be disadvantages too, if two gay couples are high income, then marriage may be a disadvantage.

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