New York Legalizes Gay Marriage

Gay Marriage

New York has just become the sixth state to legalize gay marriage. The NY Senate passed the bill earlier this evening, and then Governor Andrew Cuomo signed it into law. It will take effect 30 days from the Governor’s signing. New York joins Vermont and New Hampshire as the only states to legalize gay marriage through state legislatures. In every other state, it has happened through the courts. This bill doubles the number of people in the United States who will have access to same-sex marriage.

Senator Stephen Saland was a Republican hold-out who in the end became the deciding vote in favor of gay marriage. During the debate, he argued that the religious exemptions that were added to the bill made it acceptable. In particular, he argued that amendments to the bill would protect the religious liberty of churches and other non-profits that object to gay marriage.

There is an “inseverabilty clause” in the amendments that ensure that no part of the bill or amendments can be struck down individually by a judge. If any part of the religious exemptions ever get struck down in court, then the whole law gets struck as well. In short, if religious exemptions fall, so do gay marriage rights in New York.

For those of us who support traditional marriage, these religious exemptions are no consolation. The central point of the debate is whether or not our society will privilege traditional marriage in law. New York says no. Religious exemptions or not, this is a sad vote.


See Michael Foust’s excellent coverage in the Baptist Press here.


  • Christianes

    In 2009, a majority Democratic Senate voted this down in NY.

    It took a majority of Republicans in the Senate for this to go through.

    The NY Republican State Senators didn’t vote as ‘social conservatives’ this time . . . or maybe the people of NY have so strongly expressed a change of heart about same-sex marriage that the Senators saw the hand-writing on the wall for their own re-elections and voted for their own self-preservation.

    Ah, politics . . . the voice of the people.

  • donsands

    It’s such an amazing stupid law. To redefine marriage is absurd, but it is what this world does. The Church needs to keep shining the truth and love of Christ in this world, which in New York has become even darker.

    I wonder if this will lead to forcing pastors to marry two women, or two men? I would think that is not too far away.

    Have a great Lord’s day in our Savior’s peace and joy!

  • Paul

    Marriage hasn’t been redefined. It’s benefits are now simply available to anyone who wants to get married.

    As I’ve said before, we can start having the talk about “protecting” marriage right after we make adultery illegal and 24 hour marriage chapels without breathalyzer tests beforehand are shut down. 50% of new marriages end in divorce, and we’re going to talk about the sanctity of marriage?

    Where is the church on any of those issues? Nowhere to be seen. But it pops up here because this is a wedge issue, pathetically used to prey on peoples prejudices and rally the troops for the Republican Party. Well, now, even the Republicans are voting for it.

    You’d have a case if we lived in a Christian nation. But we don’t. We live in a secular country with secular laws that must acknowledge that not everyone thinks like us. Those that don’t should be just as entitled to the same property and guardian rights and tax breaks (and you republican folks love tax breaks, right?) that everyone else is. Not affording someone those rights just because you don’t like their lifestyle is a form of oppression.

  • Tim Webb

    I agree with Paul (#7 above) and wonder, what’s the problem with this? The United States has a Constitution that is at best agnostic and at worst atheistic… the Constitution says not a word about God. The U.S. is not a ‘Christian nation’ in any way… why should we expect anything different than the vote in NY? Is this how our brothers & sisters who lived & suffered under another godless government would respond, those in the early centuries of the church, like the Apostle Paul?

  • Nate

    Paul and Tim:

    Let’s throw out all the regulations then. Any partnership or multiple partnerships should have the “privilege” of gaining these so-called tax breaks. Brother/Sister, Sister/Sister, Cousin/Cousin, Mother/Son, and so on forever. Polygamy (has to be in), Polyamory (has to be in). Otherwise you (govt.) are disallowing these folks privileges simply because you don’t like the connections.

    Furthermore, don’t bring the Christian nation issue in. This has nothing to do with that. Adultery used to be illegal Paul, until the secular community said, “Anything goes.” Same for no-fault divorce. You act as if the Christians ushered it in. True we should have taken a more political stance, but now that we are, you and others pan us for that.

    If the people were choosing this you would have a better argument, but it is the courts and legislatures deciding this. Put it to a vote of the people and it fails (big). But, sooner or later the people will get tired and as long as the culture continues to degrade it will ultimately pass.

    Those in favor of this certainly don’t want to discuss polygamy, bigamy, or polymory, because they know that the people are not ready for those things and it makes their cause look worse.

    So Paul, let’s throw out all the laws pertaining to property rights, visitation rights, inheritance rights, because as you say, “not affording someone those rights just because you don’t like their lifestyle is a form of oppression.”

    The polygamists are oppressed. My cousin and I are oppressed. My wife and nephew are oppressed. My daughter and son are oppressed. Just because you don’t want them together… You oppressor.

  • donsands

    “..what’s the problem with this?” Tim
    The problem for me, Paul & Tim, is the word marriage has a definite meaning.
    Marriage is a bride, female, woman, who joins with a husband, male, man.

    The word doesn’t work for two husbands, or two wives. Sorry.
    We don’t have the right to change the meanings of words, do we?

  • Denny Burk

    This is not a debate about words (which are abstractions). Words are involved, but they aren’t the bottom line. If words were the only issue, then Christians might support civil unions. The issue is whether or not our society will privilege and nurture the covenanted union of one man and one woman.

  • Lydia

    What I do not understand is why NY would still outlaw polygamous marriages for Mormons or Muslims. Perhaps that will change, too.

    Which brings us to whether multiple wives will qualify for the family medical plan. :o)

    Once you redefine civil marriage….

  • Nate

    Paul: Denny moderated my earlier comment, but it was along the lines of Lydia’s. I will wait and see if Denny lets it pass before I respond again, but suffice to say, your argument is weak on a variety of fronts.

  • Paul

    Nate: hardly.

    A state benefits from a one on one marriage. A family usually wants to put down roots and buy a home (property taxes), make big purchases (sales tax), etc, etc, etc.

    As polygamy has proven in situations where it has a quasi-blind eye turned toward it (think the Mormon west), it siphons money left and right, as one income cannot support two or three wives and the 6-10-12 or more children that such a union would produce. Families end up on WIC, welfare and other support, communities are denied the property taxes that multiple families would pump into the system, etc, etc, etc.

    Let’s face it, civil unions should be the norm. The government has no business sanctioning religious institutions. Let everyone get civil unions, and then let churches marry those that meet strict requirements for marriages within that church.

  • Nate

    Paul, one of your original arguments was, “not affording someone those rights just because you don’t like their lifestyle is a form of oppression.” And look what you are doing, not liking someone’s lifestyle because you think it will siphon money. Who are you to make that argument and then advocate for what NY passed.

    Your previous arguments against the Christian community were bogus as well because adultery did used to be illegal and the secular state legalized it (or basically quit prosecuting it). As I said earlier, Christians should have been more involved politically, but you shouldn’t chastise them now because they want to be.

    Forget civil unions Paul, you believe anything goes, so take all restrictions off property sharing, inheritance, etc. (because nobody should be oppressed, remember).

  • donsands

    “Words are involved, but they aren’t the bottom line.”

    So it doesn’t matter what the definition of married, marriage, wedding, bride, etc., means.

    I guess I’m wrong, but it seems so important to me.

    The word murder means to kill a human being with evil intent.”You shall not murder.”
    If we change the meaning of murder, wouldn’t that matter?

    I’m probably missing something here Denny. Just trying to lay my mind out here. And trying to learn as well.

  • Charlton Connett

    One of the earliest series I did on my blog was to show why promoting homosexual marriage is a bad idea for society. In that series I examined the data available and attempted to show that redefining marriage is a bad idea for society no matter how the redefinition is done. For those who think this isn’t a big deal, I would challenge you to really think through the long term effects of what this will lead to, and consider whether that is where we want to go with society.

    To Paul, and those who make the argument that this isn’t such a big deal because of how lax marriage is already seen in society, I would say your argument reveals exactly the opposite is true. If marriage is already being treated poorly, instead of redefining marriage, so that it loses what sacred value it had, isn’t it better to start taking marriage more seriously. Instead of redefining marriage, shouldn’t all of us be fighting for marriage to be taken more seriously?


    While I can’t speak for Denny, I think his point is reasonable. This isn’t about just redefining words. It is the whole concept of what union should be important and recognized by our government. Using your example, if we redefined the word “murder” but society still held that the killing a human with evil intent was unacceptable, just using some other term, then we could adjust to that. It is when society redefines words so as to make the unacceptable acceptable that we ought to be concerned. (Hence why we show great concern with “abortion” which is really, usually, the murder of an innocent baby, just called by another term. It isn’t the term “abortion” that we are concerned with, it isn’t the word “fetus,” or “infant,” or “baby,” it is the action taking place.)

  • Chris

    My takeaway from this is:

    1. Raise the value of marriage.

    2. Fight harder than ever before to keep marriage as one man and one woman.

  • Christianes

    Time for Christian people to present ‘marriage’ as it was meant to be: a union that was ‘until death do us part’ with a commitment to one another that was to be honored ‘before God’ because it was made ‘before God’.

    The joke on marriage is the result of ‘gay’ marriage;
    but of ‘Christian’ marriages that are between a man and a woman but only until they decide to end it, children or no children.

    Somehow all the finger-pointing has back-fired . . .
    we should be working on our own messes if we want the state of marriage to be honored in this country.

  • donsands

    Thanks Charlton. That helps.

    Have a terrific Lord’s day!

    “”….you are… His own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.”-Peter

  • Denny Burk


    So you do agree that the state has an legitimate interest in defining what marriage is. If I understand your argument correctly, “one on one” marriage must be the legal norm (homosexual or heterosexual). Polyamorous and polygamous relationships must be excluded in our laws because of the financial strain that such arrangements cause. What if we could figure out a way to eliminate the financial burdens of these relationships? Would you then support legal polyamorous and polygamous marriages?


  • RD

    It wasn’t too long ago that it was an illegal, shameful act for a blacks to marry whites in this country. Many church leaders pointed to biblcal proof texts in support of these laws. Growing up in segregated Atlanta I remember hearing Godly members of my church (and I mean that sincerely, they were truly Godly men and women who simply misunderstood the broader spirit of the scriptures) talking about the fact that the authority of teh Bible was under assault by the civil rights activists, and even by the Federal government.

    Courts and legislatures throughout the nation,of course, came to their senses and now most folks don’t even remember those old laws ever existed. 10-15 years from now this will be a non-issue.

  • Denny Burk


    Another question: What if a young man goes off to college, meets a girl, falls in love, and decides to marry her. She agrees. At some point during the engagement, they discover that she is his long lost aunt. They are madly in love with each other, but they have just discovered this troubling news.

    Theirs would be a “one on one” marriage that is illegal in every state of the union. Does the state have an interest in keeping them from being married? Should there be some kind of legal exception made for them?


  • Paul


    Of course the state has no interest in keeping that union together. Need to go through a list of birth defects and diseases that are are a result of inbreeding? How would society benefit from that marriage being made legal?

  • JohnnyM

    another thing is that marriage does not currently discriminate against gay people.

    A gay man today can marry a woman and if a man wants to marry a man he cannot, not because he is gay, but because that is not how marriage is defined. Two straight dudes are also not allowed to get married.

    This whole thing is not about marriage “rights” or anything of the sort, it is about society affirming their relationship. By granting two men the “right” to be married society is affirming, normalizing, and blessing their relationship all to societies detriment as Dr. Heimback lays out in the links above.

  • Paul

    Denny –

    to answer the question in #24 –

    If we should respect marriage as it stands now because it is religiously ordained, then shouldn’t we do the same for polygamy, if the financial strains were to be removed? To say that our version of Christianity and its views on marriage are somehow better than the Mormons’ version of it, or that our views on marriage were better than Islam’s would essentially mean that the state was promoting one religion over another, and therefore would be a violation of the first amendment, wouldn’t it? Frankly, it’s kind of hypocritical.

    But, to answer your question, sure, I’ll go there. Yes, if it’s between consenting adults and there were no financial stumbling blocks to impede the situation, I have to ask, who are we to dictate how someone writes their will or who should be near them on their death bed?

    As far as I know, polyamory isn’t illegal now, because it doesn’t require marriage in order to exist. If you’re asking my personal opinion, besides the adulterous implications that are obviously problematic, I also can’t wrap my head around how people keep those kind of relationships going without going complete insane.

  • Paul

    Johnny – that’s a ridiculous argument. If that’s the best that the anti-LGBT side has, then it will be going down in flames within a generation or two.

    The definition of marriage is that it’s a state sanctioned contract between two partners that offers a bevy of property and guardianship rights under one piece of paper.

    Certain people want to tack on who should have those rights.

    If we’re going to start talking about who can and can’t get married, then I want to add some qualifiers in there too…

    1) no methheads getting married.

    2) anybody with IQ’s under 125 has to get sterilized before the can get married.

    3) no country music fans getting married. They just propagate that stuff, and that’s not fair to the rest of us.

    I’ll switch sides the second that a republican puts that addendum into a bill in congress.

  • JohnnyM


    Dr. Heimbach goes into much greater detail on the effects that sanctioning homosexual marriage has on society in the first link I provided. You should give it a read.

    And your definition of marriage is incorrect. If gay people wanted property rights then they would have fought for civil unions. But they dont, because they know marriage means much more than that. Its all about society blessing and sanctioning their immoral relationship.

    The primary reason we outlaw incestuous marriages is not because of birth defects, which is not the problem you seem to think it is, it is because it is immoral and society does not want to sanction such a relationship.

    The fact of the matter is, you are completely fine with imposing your moral beliefs on what should and should not be marriage, you just don’t want to admit it.

  • Paul

    gay people HAVE fought for civil unions. They just got the right to them here in Illinois. You’d figure that the state with the third largest city in the country would make the news more often.

    If society doesn’t want to sanction immoral behavior, why aren’t you fighting this hard to have Goldman Sachs lose their license? They’ve certainly done more damage with their unrepentant sin (greed) than all of the LGBT community put together.

    The fact of the matter is that you haven’t a clue about me, other than the fact that I tend to have liberal views on social issues. Until you know more about me, don’t tell me what you think my moral beliefs are. Thanks.

  • Nate

    “I’ll switch sides the second that a republican puts that addendum into a bill in congress.”

    Once again Paul you throw bombs in order to hide your prejudices. It’s not your respsonsibility or the states to say that people can’t get married because of financial issues, yet that is exactly your argument against polygamy, which is ridiculous.

    Furthermore, marriage (as defined between a man and a woman) is not the religious position of this country, it is the position of all but 6 states and is the predominant definition of the world, so quit bringing in a red herring.

    Earlier you said, “not affording someone those rights just because you don’t like their lifestyle is a form of oppression.” You still are desiring to oppress all those (other than LBBT) who would want similar options (e.g. polygamists, multiple partners, etc.)

    So, have you changed your previous “oppression statement”? It doesn’t appear that you have. So you are more than willing to oppress those you want oppressed, but not the LGBT community. Can’t have it both ways.

  • Donald Johnson

    My take is that Genesis teaches and Jesus in the gospels confirms that God’s best in marriage is a covenant between 1 man and 1 woman.

    It is exactly for that reason that I think the government in a pluralistic society like ours should not be in the business of trying to define marriage, God has already done so. God does not change but the laws of government most certainly can change, so it is preferable to me that they get out of the marriage defining business, it is not their job.

    If the government wants to encourage or discourage voluntary associations of any sort as a way to promote social stability or for whatever reason, that is up to the people to decide.

  • flynn

    I believe everyone is entitled to their oinion, therefore everyone is entitled to their own sexual preference. Being homosexual should not be viewed as a bad choice, its a persons sexual comfort zone. I dated guys my whole life to conform to society and guess what I was
    ALWAYS miserable and they always got hurt.I liked girls from childhood but was unsure what was going on. I was born this way, which means GOD made my mold so society can not break it.So heterosexuals should be less judgemental because they do not understand. I have more chemistry with my girlfriend than any guy I ever dated. It is time to be free and break the chains that keep homosexuals bound. I only have one life and I will be content and happy. I will not apologize for my sexuality because I am being true to myself. For all the angry heterosexuals, if you are comfortable with your own sexuality why do feel threatened by ours???? If you do not like it then do not look. We sleep in our beds not yours. My mom always said you would not know that I was looking at you if you were not looking at me. GOOD JOB NY…. your city god is close to god.
    God loves everyone….If he can forgeive murderers, rapist, who cause harm to innocent people….im 100% sure he will forgive the sinless act of homosexuality. We are just being what he made us to be. Smile in the face of adversity….change is good.

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