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Gay Marriage Opponents Rally In New York - asking to let the people vote, thoughts?

July 24, 2011

Thousands of opponents of gay marriage took to the streets in loud and sometimes tense protests Sunday, the first day that legal same-sex weddings were performed.

The National Organization for Marriage held rallies in New York City, Albany, Rochester and Buffalo, saying Gov. Andrew Cuomo and lawmakers redefined marriage without giving voters a chance to weigh-in, as they have in other states. Protesters chanted "Let the People Vote!" at rallies across the state.

A rally in New York City that started with several hundred people crowding the street across from Cuomo's Manhattan office quickly swelled to thousands of people out in loud opposition to the new law.

They waved signs saying "Excommunicate Cuomo" and "God cannot be mocked."

Cuomo campaigned in support of gay marriage, which he called a basic human right, then lobbied the Legislature hard ahead of its historic June 24 vote to legalize it.

The first gay marriages in New York were performed just after midnight and continued through the day at municipal offices that opened for special weekend hours, making New York the sixth and largest state to recognize same-sex weddings and becoming a pivotal moment in the national drive for recognition.

Outside the capitol in Albany, about 400 people gathered in a park in the shadow of the state Capitol for a protest they said was political, but had a strong religious thread and featured signs that included a banner with the familiar "Marriage(equals)Man and Woman" message topped with a fluttering "Don't Tread on Me" flag.

A mix of congregants and clergy from local black churches, a tea party contingent from Norwich and other small groups including families, they lined up and sang "Our God is an Awesome God" as they started a march that circled the massive seat of state government in the largely empty downtown.

Tre' Staton, pastor at the Empire Christian Center in suburban Colonie and an organizer of the protest, said he lobbied lawmakers in the run-up to the New York Senate vote and was frustrated they passed a law he doesn't believe many people support, particularly in the black community.

"We're not against anybody, but we don't want his imposed on us," he said, stressing the National Organization for Marriage's theme for the rally. "We're looking for a referendum, an opportunity to have our fair say."

New York City protesters and others across upstate chanted "Let the people vote!" referring to referendums that have succeeded in stalling or repealing gay marriage in other states. New York does not have an easy way for voters to bring a measure directly to the ballot box, meaning such a maneuver to repeal gay marriage here will be difficult.

"I'm here for God's sake," said Steve Rosner, 65, of the Lower East Side. "To sanctify same-sex marriage is an abomination. It's beyond belief."

Around 3:30 p.m., the protesters started marching uptown toward the United Nations. By the time they reached the UN, the crowd numbered in the many thousands, filling up 47th Street. They were joined by a brass band.

"I'm worried that the younger generations will think this is normal, and it's not," said Gloria Sanchez, 35, of Brooklyn. "It's wrong. It's a sin."

Jewish protester Heshy Friedman carried a pig mask "because the law's not Kosher." He said he worried that Muslim groups might push to legalize polygamy next.

In Buffalo, a few hundred people gathered on the steps of City Hall. Church leaders did most of the speaking while protesters chanted "Let the people vote." Some held Bibles and others prayed on rosaries with their heads bowed.

"If it had been put to the people it wouldn't have passed," said JoAnn Tomasello, who was also in the crowd. "It's not what the people want."

Police led one counterprotester away in handcuffs after he apparently refused to stop videotaping police, although it wasn't clear that's why he was taken into custody.

Another counterprotester, Dan McKowan of Lancaster, got into a shouting match with demonstrators as he held a sign mocking the National Organization for Marriage, which organized the rally.

"Why are you denying me the same rights you enjoy?" McKowan asked.

"We love you," several protesters replied.

"If you love me, why would you fight against my civil rights?" McKowan said.


Asked by samurai_chica at 6:12 PM on Jul. 24, 2011 in Politics & Current Events

Level 35 (74,081 Credits)
This question is closed.
Answers (113)
  • Many people could care less if gay marriage was legal.

    That's the problem - they don't really care, so why show up to vote about it? I think for a vote like that to count, they need to have a quorum of voters. If they can't get 2/3 of the registered to show up and weigh in, why should the majority of the tenth that do show up get to decide for everyone?

    Answer by NotPanicking at 6:26 PM on Jul. 24, 2011

  • Grace you are what is wrong with this country all wrapped up in one hate filled, loud mouthed, bitter package.

    Answer by trippyhippy at 9:15 PM on Jul. 24, 2011

  • The problem is that it shouldn't be up to a popular vote as to who gets civil rights. Because as we know from history, group think isn't always the way to go. Think Germany, circa WWII. Think apartheid. Think slavery. Think segregation. We have a constitution, and we have a supreme court who is there to interpret the laws that we create, to ensure they jive. Things like this should NEVER be up for a vote. They should be examined carefully by people who are highly educated in the law.

    Answer by Saya at 6:32 PM on Jul. 24, 2011

  • If people had voted on Women's RIghts, women would ahve no rights. If people had voted on Civil Rights for Blacks, they would have no rights, So why should we let the people vote on a civil rights issue and deny those people their rights?

    Answer by KristiS11384 at 6:37 PM on Jul. 24, 2011

  • Riiight cause it's a choice. Tell me when did you decide you were going to be straight?

    I'm sure you've been presented this argument before.

    Answer by KristiS11384 at 7:18 PM on Jul. 24, 2011

  • Equal rights should never be put up to vote. I am appalled by my fellow so called Christians and their attitudes in this post alone. Separation of church and state is clear. Laws should not be based on religion.

    Answer by Mom2Just1 at 8:45 PM on Jul. 24, 2011

  • Someone voted me down for not supporting bigotry and attempts to push civil rights backwards 50 years. Oh no. I might cry now.


    Answer by NotPanicking at 8:53 PM on Jul. 24, 2011

  • "If the Bible says that homosexuality is wrong, can YOU call it right?"

    well then we shouldnt allow divorces anymore either (unless there was infidelity) cause the Bible says its wrong, and adultery should be a prison-worthy offense b/c its so wrong it made the 10 commandments. same w/ bearing false witness (which could be interpreted as gossiping & lying) and coveting your neighbor's possessions...all more wrong than homosexuality. and we should go back to stoning kids that dishonor their parents & forcing women to marry their rapist since thats what the Bible says is right & just.

    sarcasm is fun!

    Answer by okmanders at 7:04 PM on Jul. 24, 2011

  • If you REALLY understood the Bible, you would already have the answer for that.

    I'm sure that's the excuse they gave during the 1960's as well when Black's Rights were being suppressed according to some by "biblical law" and they were trying to make excuses for why they didn't follow other laws too when it was brought up.

    Answer by KristiS11384 at 7:05 PM on Jul. 24, 2011

  • People have used the Bible and Gods name to starte wars, and to kill and hate.

    I may not understand the Bible but I do understand that God wants us respect all and try to love each other. NOT TO HATE!

    Gay people are the same as you and me! What they do in their bedroom is none of your business!


    Answer by gammie at 7:10 PM on Jul. 24, 2011