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Mayor of N.Y. town ‘marries’ same-sex couples

NEW PALTZ, N.Y. (BP)–The town of New Paltz, N.Y., entered the same-sex “marriage” debate Feb. 27, becoming the third town or city in America to “marry” homosexual couples in recent weeks.

The town followed similar actions of San Francisco and a county in New Mexico.

New Paltz, located just off Interstate 87 in the southeast part of New York, “married” more than 20 homosexual couples. Mayor Jason West, 26, who performed the ceremonies, was elected on the Green Party ticket, the Associated Press reported.

But the unions may not be legally valid, because the town clerk refused to grant the couples marriage licenses, The New York Times reported.

“What we’re witnessing in America today is the flowering of the largest civil rights movement the country’s had in a generation,” West was quoted by the AP as saying.

The state health department was asking state Attorney General Eliot Spitzer to stop the illegal weddings, the AP reported.

While San Francisco continues to defy state law by issuing marriage licenses, a county in New Mexico that had been doing the same halted its action after receiving a letter from the state attorney general saying the same-sex unions were illegal.

Meanwhile, President Bush reiterated Feb. 27 his support for a constitutional marriage amendment. Bush told reporters that the amendment process will allow the people, and not the courts, to make the decision.

“I believed it was important to act because the institution of marriage was being changed by courts,” he said. “And it’s an issue that’s very sensitive. And the voice of the people needs to be heard, and the constitutional process was the best way to do such.”

Bush also said marriage between one man and one woman is the “ideal.”

“I believe that marriage has served society well, and I believe it is important to affirm that, that marriage between a man and a woman is the ideal,” he said. “And the job of the president is to drive policy toward the ideal. This is a sensitive debate and it is important that people hold true to their beliefs without condemning anybody else. And so, therefore, I call upon all sides in the debate to conduct themselves with dignity and honor and respect.

“But this is a debate that the nation must have. And the people’s voice must be heard in the debate.”
For more information on the debate over same-sex “marriage,” visit BP’s story collection at:

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