ALBANY, N.Y. (BP)–A conservative legal group has filed separate lawsuits against two public officials in New York state, claiming they illegally ordered the recognition of out-of-state “gay marriages.”
In one suit, the Alliance Defense Fund alleges that New York State Comptroller Alan G. Hevesi “acted illegally” in October 2004 by ordering Canadian “gay marriages” to be recognized by the New York State and Local Retirement System, the retirement system for many of the state’s public employees.
In the second suit, ADF says Westchester County Executive Andrew J. Spano broke state law in June of this year by directing all county departments and officials to recognize “gay marriages” from outside the state.
The action by Hevesi allows partners of homosexual public employees “married” in Canada to receive spousal benefits. Spano’s order gives same-sex couples certain benefits granted to heterosexual married couples, such as the ability to purchase family passes to county parks, according to the Associated Press.
Both suits, filed in state court in early September, rely on a July decision from the state’s highest court. In that ruling, the court refused to legalize “gay marriage” and affirmed the state’s definition of marriage as between one man and one woman.
“Marriage has become an extremely emotional issue because certain people are trying to reduce it to nothing more than a benefits system for loving couples. Marriage is about much more than economic benefits,” ADF Senior Legal Counsel Brian Raum said in a news release. “These officials are clearly defying the law since New York courts have consistently defined marriage in the state as one man and one woman. By granting benefits to unrecognized unions, they are allowing state coffers to be raided at the expense of New York taxpayers.”
‘GAY MARRIAGE’ SUPPORTER WINS IN N.Y. — New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer easily won the Democratic primary for governor Sept. 12, putting him on track for a likely general election victory in November. Spitzer supports “gay marriage” and has pledged to sign a bill legalizing it if one reaches his desk. The current governor, Republican George Pataki, opposes “gay marriage.” Spitzer has led the Republican nominee, John Faso, by more than 40 points in several polls.
California’s Democratic nominee for governor, Phil Angelides, also supports “gay marriage,” although he trails incumbent Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in the polls. Three polls from August and early September had Schwarzenegger leading by anywhere from eight to 14 points. Schwarzenegger vetoed a “gay marriage” bill last year. Angelides has said he would have signed it.
No sitting governor in the U.S. has pledged publicly to sign a “gay marriage” bill.
MAJORITY IN VA. SUPPORT AMENDMENT — Two new polls show that a majority of Virginians supports a proposed constitutional amendment that will be on the November ballot.
In a Survey USA poll of 467 likely voters released Sept. 13, the amendment was favored by a margin of 68-29 percent. In a Mason-Dixon Virginia Poll of 625 voters conducted Sept. 5-7, it was supported by a margin of 54-40 percent. The disparity between the two polls may be due to the text of the question: Survey USA read a summary of the amendment to voters, while Mason-Dixon read the text of the entire amendment.
But polls typically have underestimated the actual support for marriage amendments. For instance, in 2004 Arkansas adopted an amendment with 75 percent of the vote, although a pre-election poll had support at only 65 percent. The same was true in Michigan (59 percent vote total, 52 percent pre-election poll) and Oregon (57 percent vote total, 50 percent poll).
Virginia is one of eight states that will vote on marriage amendments in November.
POPE CRITICIZES CANADIAN LAW — Pope Benedict XVI Sept. 8 criticized Canada for legalizing “gay marriage” and abortion.
“In the name of ‘tolerance’ your country has had to endure the folly of the redefinition of spouse, and in the name of `freedom of choice’ it is confronted with the daily destruction of unborn children,” he told bishops from Ontario as they visited the Vatican, AP reported.
The nation’s marriage and abortion laws, he said, are due to “the exclusion of God from the public sphere.” He said Catholic politicians had yielded to “ephemeral social trends and the spurious demands of opinion polls,” AP said.
For more information about the national debate over “gay marriage,” visit http://www.bpnews.net/samesexmarriage