Thirty-three New York State Senators in favor, 29 against, and one pen wielded by Governor Andrew Cuomo. The confluence of might and right in this set of numbers has ushered in not only a victory for LGBT persons, but a victory reiterating what is more sacrosanct than any religious holy text: “Nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its [the United States] jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”
This is also a victory for secularism. This event signifies the realization of hope and the actualization of reason. In Justice Sandra Day O’Connor’s concurrence in the 2005 U.S. Supreme Court case Lawrence v. Texas, she wrote, “Moral disapproval of a group cannot be a legitimate governmental interest (to consider discrimination constitutional) under the Equal Protection Clause because legal classifications must not be ‘drawn for the purpose of disadvantaging the group burdened by the law.’”
The opposition to this is, of course, mainly religious. The usual orthodox cacophony reared its ugly head with Archbishop Timothy Dolan stating that if this law passed, New York would be no different than North Korea in terms of the government legislating morality. Mark Twain once wrote (on the subject of slavery and witch-burnings), “The texts remain; it is the practice that has changed. Why? Because the world has corrected the Bible. The Church never corrects it; and also never fails to drop in at the tail of the procession-and take the credit of the correction. As she will presently do in this instance.”
There is something we can all do, right now. Realizing that with the upholding Judge Vaughn Walker’s decision to nullify Proposition 8 in California and Gov. Cuomo’s signing of this law in New York, we do have the power to make a difference. It’s time to get busy writing letters and visiting our legislatures.
And for those of you under the jurisdiction of the Empire State and have interest in finally having your loving and committed relationship recognized by your –state, we have Humanist Celebrants ready to help you realize your dream.