Secular Coalition Applauds N.Y. Lawmakers Who Supported Marriage Equality Over Religious Beliefs
Key Catholic Republican Said He Based His Vote on “Reason” – Not Religious Upbringing
WASHINGTON, D.C. – In the wake of the New York State Senate’s historic vote to legalize same-sex marriage, the Secular Coalition for America today commended those New York State lawmakers who cast aside anti-gay religious beliefs and voted in favor of equal marriage rights for all their constituents.
“By applying reason, supporting equality for all citizens, and refusing to accede to discriminatory religious beliefs, these brave New York legislators have set a historic example for lawmakers across the nation by representing the interests of their diverse constituency despite their personal religious views,” said Sean Faircloth, executive director of the Secular Coalition for America. “We applaud these civic leaders for recognizing that in a secular democracy, officials should seek the betterment of all citizens rather than allow their decisions to be influenced by religious bias.”
The Secular Coalition specifically praised New York State Senator Mark J. Grisanti (R), who said before Friday’s vote that he would support the measure based on “reason,” rather than the beliefs of his Catholic upbringing.
“As a Catholic, I was raised to believe that marriage is between a man and a woman,” Grisanti said. “I’m not here, however, as a senator who is just Catholic. I’m also here with a background as an attorney. To which I look at things and I apply reason. … I have studied this issue. To those who know me, they know I have struggled with it. … I cannot legally come up with an argument against same-sex marriage.”
Scores of clergy and religious organizations condemned the New York Senate vote over the weekend, even though the legislation included exemptions for religious organizations, allowing them to continue to shun gay marriage within their own congregations. “We worry that both marriage and the family will be undermined by this tragic presumption of government in passing this legislation that attempts to redefine these cornerstones of civilization,” read one statement from the Bishops of New York State.
“While many religious organizations have made valuable contributions to the campaign for gay rights in New York and across the country, the unfortunate reality remains that virtually every argument against equal rights for gay Americans is rooted in religious bias and dogma,” Faircloth said. “In order to advance human freedom and dignity, it’s time that we as a nation finally acknowledge and reject the religiously motivated bigotry that continues to oppose equal rights for so many Americans.”
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