Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Former NYC mayor Ed Koch weighs in on same-sex marriage

I believe that same-sex marriage will be approved by a majority of the fifty states in the Union within the next five years. When that occurs, the federal resistance will end and the Congress will vote in favor of federal recognition of same-sex marriages with equal benefits to both homosexual and heterosexual couples.

Those who are opposed to same-sex marriage on religious grounds should know that no religious institution is now being coerced or will in the future be forced to perform same-sex weddings. The decision of whether to sanctify same-sex marriages is totally up to the religious leaders. It is a near certainty that the Catholic Church and Orthodox synagogues will continue to refuse to officiate at same-sex weddings, while some Protestant churches and reform and conservative synagogues will continue to be open to the practice.

It is the right of all religions to determine their own responses. But the issue here is not religious, but civil marriage. As a matter of fundamental fairness, civil marriage must be made available for all consenting adults, irrespective of sexual orientation. And it will happen, more quickly than the public thinks. In the United States today, five states have approved the right of same-sex marriage, either through legislative action or court decree. They are: Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, Maine and Vermont.

The next state in all probability to legislatively approve same-sex marriage is New York. Currently, as a result of Governor David Paterson’s executive order, New York state recognizes same-sex marriages performed in other states, and accords same-sex couples who were legally married in other states the benefits provided to married heterosexual couples that state agencies can do administratively. The New York Times reported on May 29, 2008, “Legal experts said Mr. Paterson’s decision would make New York the only state that did not itself allow gay marriage but fully recognized same-sex unions entered into elsewhere."
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