Grisanti said in those comments, that “under this bill the religious aspects and beliefs are protected, as well as for (sic) not-for-profits,” The senator went on to explain why he believed the bill should be passed as soon as possible: “If this bill fails, I believe the next time around those religious protections won't be there.”
But Barnes said it is far from clear what the supposed protections, which he recalled were “introduced as a chapter amendment in the last moments of the legislative session,” actually accomplished.
“It wades into an area of law that is, in many ways, brand new,” he noted. “It touches on constitutional protections, which are now overlaid with a law declaring same-sex 'marriage' to be a civil right. Much of it is untested, and its impact will not be fully known for many years, I believe.”
Maggie Gallagher, chairman of the National Organization for Marriage, said the supposed protections trumpeted by Grisanti are seriously flawed.
“It protects some religious organizations; it doesn't protect religious people,” she told CNA on July 8. “If you're a marriage counselor, it's not going to help you stay in business against a claim that you're discriminating if you are not willing to help gay people keep their relationships together.”
“It's not going to protect others in the wedding industry, who feel they cannot in good conscience assist in a gay 'marriage.' And it's certainly going to do nothing for parents who do not want their children taught that gay 'marriage' is a fundamental civil right.”
Grisanti himself acknowledged, in his floor speech, that “many people who voted for me will question my integrity” because of his change of position. Gallagher recalled that her organization was among the groups courted by Grisanti as he touted support for traditional marriage last year.
“He was such a vocal opponent of gay 'marriage,'” she recalled. “He came to us, and he came to a lot of other people, when he was running against a Democrat who had voted for the gay 'marriage' bill in 2009, and he said he was unalterably opposed to same-sex marriage.
“'Unalterably' – that's a quote from him.”
Dr. Kevin Backus, chairman of the Grand Island Conservative Party, has claimed that Grisanti privately confirmed himself as a “No” vote on “Marriage Equality” only 11 days before the final vote.
Gallagher noted that at the national level, there are powerful forces working to flip the votes of wavering social conservatives.
(Story continues below)
Subscribe to our daily newsletter
At Catholic News Agency, our team is committed to reporting the truth with courage, integrity, and fidelity to our faith. We provide news about the Church and the world, as seen through the teachings of the Catholic Church. When you subscribe to the CNA UPDATE, we'll send you a daily email with links to the news you need and, occasionally, breaking news.
As part of this free service you may receive occasional offers from us at EWTN News and EWTN. We won't rent or sell your information, and you can unsubscribe at any time.
“At the elite level, in the Republican party, there is a powerful desire to make both parties functionally pro-gay 'marriage,'” she noted. “What happened in New York is part of a deliberately orchestrated campaign, from some major Republican elites, to eliminate marriage from the portfolio of the Republican Party.”
“They are betting that if they raise enough money, they can protect the Mark Grisantis of the world from the displeasure of actual Republican voters,” she said.
But she observed that the apparent lack of integrity is likely to cost Grisanti – who pled in his floor speech with “those whose support I may lose,” telling them that “in the past what I was telling you, and what I believed at that time, was the truth.”
Yet three days later, on June 27, he acknowledged that the strength of some of his past rhetoric against redefining marriage “was probably more political than actually conscience.”
Gallagher pointed to a recent New York Times article, featuring interviews with constituents in the districts of four senators who had changed their votes on the matter.
“They actually talked to a 27-year-old Republican who favors gay 'marriage,' who said he would never vote for Grisanti again – because he's such a liar,” she said.