Civil Unions and Marriage

April 5, 2004

To the Editor:

In response to “Marriage for None” (by Andy Humm, April 1-7), State Assemblymember Deborah Glick is right: “marriage comes with a whole lot of baggage.”

But in her case, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver is stowed away inside her valise.

Glick and Assemblyman Danny O’Donnell, two of the community’s most prominent elected officials, have been strangely absent from all marriage-related activity in the city over the past few months. Now they come forward with a bill that would replace marriage for all with civil unions for all––a bill no one in the community supports, and one they know very well has no chance of going anywhere in Albany.

It will be hard enough getting lawmakers to support marriage rights for our community — those same legislators will never vote to take those rights away from heterosexuals.

Glick can justify her legislation with all the feminist rhetoric that she wants. The truth is, she and O’Donnell are lapdogs of Sheldon Silver, an Orthodox Jew who will not even come out publicly against a Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in this state, despite representing a district in lower Manhattan with a huge gay and lesbian population. Rather than embarrass their mentor&Mac226;—and endanger their relationship with one of Albany’s most powerful politicians—Glick and O’Donnell have sat this issue out. When community pressure made that option untenable, they created this smokescreen for his benefit.

Glick and O’Donnell should be working to convince Sheldon Silver to come out publicly against a DOMA and in favor of the same-sex marriage legislation introduced by Assemblyman Richard Gottfriend. Instead, Glick has diverted attention away from such legislation, and made the community appear divided (when in fact it is not), giving Silver a perfect excuse not to act at all.

No one cares about Deborah Glick’s personal philosophy about marriage. She was elected to do what her constituents want, and her constituents want to get married.

Andrew Miller


April 3, 2004

To the Editor:

As a same-sex couple recently married in Canada, in response to “Marriage for None,” we are totally against Assemblymember Glick’s irresponsible legislative proposal to create a civil union for all couples straight and gay. We would like to ask how her proposal would protect individuals any better than the current status of civil marriage? In fact, there would be less protection. No longer would our marriages be portable from state to state. There would be utter confusion for those already married under existing laws.

Does Ms. Glick really want to be associated with Governor Mitch Romney of Massachusetts’ Republican right wing attitude? Her bill is no different than one of several strategies he is working on to stop “The M word” from taking place on May 17 in his state. Her attitude adds a divisive wedge in the gay community.

How will civil unions protect women where marriage does not? The “baggage of marriage” as Ms. Glick calls it, also comes with readily accessible and recognizable rights and responsibilities nationwide. Marriage is a women’s issue as well as a lesbian women’s issue. It will protect both parties in a relationship with clearly defined requirements and protections.

Michael R. Sabatino, Jr. and

Robert J. Voorheis


Democracy and Fascism

March 31, 2004

To the Editor:

In response to “The Third Rail in Political Discourse,” by Mike Signorile (March 4-10), during and after the Hitler time, books and movies appeared in the United States assuring the people that, “it can’t happen here.” It was confidently stated and felt that fascism would never become a genuine political force in the land of the free. That sense of certainty should now be put aside.

Political developments of the last 20 years have resulted in establishing the conditions for fascism in the U.S. Of these, the most important condition, the only means by which fascism would be possible here, is finally coming into its time of prominence. Fascism in the U.S. will be Christian in nature.

The power of the Christian right is fairly plain to see. While far from a majority of the population, it commands large numbers, it is wealthy, it is committed to its causes and determined to succeed, and it controls the White House and much of Congress.

The chief resistance will come from us. Gay people will feel the brunt of their irrational anger. As we stand our ground on matters of importance to us, as we push forward in issues such as marriage, we pose an unacceptable barrier to their success. If we stay strong and if we do not shirk from the challenge, it may be enough in time to stop them.

Michael Bacon

Circle of the Free Spirit Jersey City

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