.- New York Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan is concerned that state senators might âre-invent the very definitionâ of marriageâsociety's basic institutionâas five more lawmakers pledged to support a same-sex âmarriageâ bill.
âNot every desire, urge, want, or chic cause is automatically a âright,ââ the archbishop explained in his June 14 blog post titled âThe True Meaning of Marriage.â True freedom, he said, is not âthe license to do whatever we want, but the liberty to do what we ought.â
Later that day, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo presented the âMarriage Equality Actâ to the state legislature after a key Republican senator voiced support for it. Four Democrats who previously voted against same-sex âmarriageâ said on June 13 that they would support the bill.
Governor Cuomo's administration is reportedly pursuing a strategy of gradually pressuring lawmakers to give their support.
âWeâre in a very precarious situation,â New York Catholic Conference director Dennis Poust told CNA on June 15. According to a New York Times tally, the law needs only one more committed vote to ensure its passage.
âWe are doing everything we can to convince the remaining 31 senators who have not said that they are going to vote âyesâ that this bill is a terrible mistake, and we have not given up,â Poust explained. âThere is still hope, although certainly it is hanging by a thread.â
If the bill does pass, âthere is very little that can be done,â he said, because New York does not have a system of initiatives and referendums like California and some other states do.
New York's legislature rejected a previous proposal to redefine marriage in 2009, by a vote of 38-24.
The state's large population makes its decision on the marriage question especially important. New York is home to 19 million people, more than the combined populations of the five states â Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Vermont â that already permit homosexual âmarriageâ along with the District of Columbia.
Archbishop Dolan warned that the proposal would exert government control over an institution more fundamental than the state itself â a prospect that he compared to the communist regimes of China and North Korea.
âIn those countries, government presumes daily to âredefineâ rights, relationships, values, and natural law,â he observed. âThere, communiquÃ©s from the government can dictate the size of families, who lives and who dies, and what the very definition of âfamilyâ and âmarriageâ means.â
The bill under consideration in New York specifies that no religious institutions will be forced to honor or facilitate homosexual âweddings.â However, it will eliminate all gender-specific language regarding the rights and responsibilities of individuals and couples.
Archbishop Dolan also responded in his blog post to those who say the Church discriminates against homosexuals. He pointed out that the Church seeks, rather, to maintain the truth about human nature, sexuality, and the family.
âThis is not about denying rights,â he said. âIt is about upholding a truth about the human condition. Marriage is not simply a mechanism for delivering benefits. It is the union of a man and a woman in a loving, permanent, life-giving union to pro-create children.â
âPlease donât vote to change that. If you do, you are claiming the power to change what is not into what is, simply because you say so. This is false, it is wrong, and it defies logic and common sense."