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.”