Gay Marriage Battle Heats Up
A constitutional amendment on Tuesday's ballot in North Carolina could go extend a ban on same-sex marriage to cover domestic partnerships and civil unions. REUTERS

On Sunday, July 24, hundreds of gay couples in New York rushed to wed as the same-sex marriage law took effect - knowing or not knowing that their "victory" could possibly be overturned.

The first sign came the very next day, when the first lawsuit was filed against the New York state measure, challenging politicians who allegedly violated open meeting laws as well as Senate rules on debate.

On Monday, New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms (NYCF), a New York political lobbying organization founded by a group of pastors, filed a lawsuit to overturn the same-sex marriage law. Plaintiffs claim that the state Legislature used a corrupt legislative process to pass the Marriage Equality Act.

According to the organization's website, NYCF claims that same-sex marriage law was passed only through:

- Meetings that violated New York State Open Meetings Laws.

- The suspension of normal Senate voting procedures to prevent Senators who opposed the bill from speaking.

- Failure to follow Senate procedures that require that a bill must be sent to appropriate committees prior to being placed before the full Senate for a vote.

- Unprecedented Senate lock-outs by which lobbyists and the public were denied access to elected representatives.

The Governor's violation of the constitutionally mandated three-day review period before the Legislature votes on a bill by unjustifiably issuing a message of necessity.

Promises (which were fulfilled) by high-profile elected officials and Wall Street financiers to make large campaign contributions to Republican senators who switched their vote from opposing to supporting the Marriage Equality Act.

"Constitutional liberties were violated. Today we are asking the court to intervene in its rightful role as the check and balance on an out-of-control State Legislature," said Rev. Jason J. McGuire, Executive Director of NYCF.

"It is unfortunate that state senators chose to protect their personal interests, rather than the people they were elected to represent. Some of the players may have changed, but it looks like same old Albany game. It is time the curtain be pulled back and the disinfecting light of good government shine upon the Cuomo Administration and our State Legislature."

According to the legal complaint, the suit seeks "to preserve not only marriage as the union of one woman to one man, but also our constitutional liberties by acting as a check on an out-of-control political process that was willing to pass a bill regardless of how many laws and rules it violated."

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Is marriage a mere pursuit of personal happiness and freedom, or a public institution that shapes and impacts the society as a whole? The same-sex marriage opponents are concerned over the dilution of the significance of marriage and family values in the accelerating gay rights movement.

"The idea that a man could 'marry' another man (or that a woman could 'marry' another woman) could be taken seriously only in a culture that has become deeply confused about what marriage is. That confusion is largely the result of what heterosexuals have done to marriage in recent decades," says Edward Whelan, president of the Ethics and Public Policy Center.

"The spread of same-sex marriage would make that rebuilding project impossible, as it would sever permanently the societal understanding of the inherent link between marriage and responsible procreation and child-rearing. The more confusion there is about the mission of marriage, the less well marriage will perform its critical mission. And the millions and millions of victims-children born into unstable or nonexistent families-will continue to pile up, with all the attendant disastrous consequences."

Another lawsuit is promised by Bronx Senator Ruben Diaz next week, to challenge the judicial waiver that allowed same-sex couples to marry on the same day of the marriage license application.

At the "Let The People Vote" rally on Sunday, Diaz, the only Democrat to vote against the gay marriage bill, said he will file a lawsuit in the New York court system next week. The Bronx senator argued that the hundreds of gay marriages on Sunday were illegal because the same-sex couples did not wait the mandated 24 hours before marrying, reported The Christian Post. City officials granted the couples to be married on Sunday a special waiver, allowing them to marry without the wait. Since none of the three emergency scenarios necessitating the waiver applied to any of the couples on Sunday, Diaz claimed that the waiver was illegal.

"The three reasons are if the state has an emergency, if one partner is facing immediate death or if there is a severe financial emergency that the couple is facing," Diaz explained.

At the protests on Sunday, more than 10,000 supporters of "Let The People Vote" rallies marched in New York City, Albany, Rochester and Buffalo, urging the Legislature to put the issue of gay marriage before voters in a statewide referendum.

Unlike California, New York does not allow the people to directly petition to put the gay marriage issue on a ballot referendum, said The Post. In order for a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage to get on the ballot, a majority in both the state House and Senate needs to vote to bring the issue before 20 million New Yorkers.

Opponents of same-sex marriage are confident in the victory of traditional marriage over the "redefined" marriage that includes gay couples, once New Yorkers are allowed to vote. NOM believes that a majority of New Yorkers would uphold the traditional definition of marriage, because no state has ever approved same-sex marriage when the issue was put before voters.

"California had approved the law, but there was a referendum to the people and in the election, we won and abolished the law. I believe it can succeed in New York State. So we must continue the fight, which is only beginning," Dr. Hector A. Chiesa, president of Radio Vision Cristiana 1330 AM, told The Post.