Wedding Bells Ring for Gay Couples in NY, but Threats Loom for Republican Supporters

When the New York State Legislature passed the law legalizing gay marriage on June 25, 2011 many people rejoiced around the state and around the world. On Sunday, July 24th, the first weddings will take place in the state. For many couples, the legalization of gay marriage was a long time coming. Celebrities showed support via social networks, and gay activist groups breathed a sigh of relief. However, not everyone is happy.

“It hasn’t gone away,” Rev. Jason McGuire, head of New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms, an evangelical church group that is known for its opposition to gay marriage told “One of the strategies of the proponents was to infiltrate the Republican Party. They did. We want to send a message that there is a cost for voting for same-sex marriage in the Republican party.”

One of those Republican leaders under fire is Sen, Mark Grisanti of Buffalo, who was the 4th Republican senator to support the measure. He said, “I cannot legally come up with an argument against same-sex marriage…I cannot deny a person, a human being, a taxpayer, a worker, the people of my district and across this state….the same rights I have with my wife.”

Another vocal critic is Archbishop Timothy Dolan who reacted by saying, “We strongly uphold the Catholic church’s clear teaching that we always treat our homosexual brothers and sisters with respect, dignity and love. But we just as as strongly affirm that marriage is the joining of one man and one woman in a lifelong loving union that is open to children and the spouses themselves.”

However, respect, dignity and love and the ability to have a lifelong loving union is exactly what supporters of gay marriage are looking for. Actor Neil Patrick Harris, who shares his life with his partner, David and their twins Harper and Gideon said the two proposed to each other once the law was passed. Other celebrities also gave a shout out once the news hit, including Ellen DeGeneres, who married Portia de Rossi in California before the infamous Prop 8 overturned marriage rights there. And Lady Gaga, gay activist, and proud New Yorker declared, ” “I can’t stop crying. We did it kids.” on her Twitter account.

But not all religious leaders are opponents, in fact Mark Erson, a newly appointed reverend at St. John’s Lutheran Church on Christopher Street in New York City plans to marry his own partner, Scott Jordan who he first met during high school in the 80s.”It’s a really historic moment. I feel like I’ve been disenfranchised all my life and now I can be just like everyone else.”

For gay activist groups, such as GLAAD, the legalization of gay marriage in New York state is a clear victory. “At the heart of this vote are loving and committed New Yorkers who simply want the same thing all Americans want: the ability to take care of the people they love and to protect their families. Gay and lesbian New Yorkers are now one step closer to the vital legal protections that marriage affords and which all couples need.” a spokesperson for the organization told, who also reported on international sentiment by quoting the Belfast Telegraph that called the decision, “a breakthrough victory in the state where the American gay rights movement was born,” and wrote that although New York is “a relative latecomer in allowing gay marriage, it is considered an important prize for advocates, given the state’s size and New York City’s international stature.”