December 19, 2005

To the Editor:

Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s claim that he hopes he loses his appeal against civil marriage for same-sex couples in the New York Court of Appeals is both patronizing and insulting to the LGBT community (“Mayor ‘Hopes’ He Loses on Marriage,” by Paul Schindler, Dec. 15-21). It is also an argument that defies logic.

In February, Supreme Court Justice Doris Ling-Cohan ruled in favor of same-sex civil marriage. She based her decision on the plain language of the equal protection clause of the New York State Constitution. Mayor Bloomberg would have us believe he was “forced” to appeal this ruling because his own staff in the corporation counsel’s office did not agree with the decision.

In reality, the buck stops with Mayor Bloomberg. The corporation counsel works for him. If Mayor Bloomberg was a real advocate for same-sex marriage, he would have ordered his attorneys to make the best legal arguments in favor of civil marriage for same-sex couples. Instead of accepting the ruling of Doris Ling-Cohan, and marrying same-sex couples in the City of New York, he appealed the ruling—and his legal papers are filled with right-wing rhetoric that the sanctity of marriage is between a man and a woman.

I was in the audience last February at the Human Rights Campaign dinner when Mayor Bloomberg announced he would appeal Judge Ling-Cohen’s decision. He claimed that he needed to appeal in order to “spare” the LGBT community the “pain” of being civilly married now, only to have their marriages voided by a higher court later. It was a shallow and cynical argument—the LGBT community does not need someone to pat us on the head and spare us pain. We know full well the pain of discrimination and are committed to eliminating it.

Here is the legal scenario Mayor Bloomberg would have taken if he were actually committed to civil marriage for same-sex couples: He would not have appealed the ruling of Judge Ling-Cohan and started to issue marriage licenses for same-sex couples. He would have used his corporation counsel’s staff to argue in favor of same-sex civil marriage in the higher courts. He would have also filed amicus briefs in favor of civil marriage in upstate courts that are addressing the same issue. He did none of these things and is now in the dubious position of arguing against same-sex civil marriage in the state’s highest court.

Mayor Bloomberg’s absurd position that he is in favor of same-sex civil marriage, while his corporation counsel argues against it, is nothing but the worst kind of political double talk and slight of hand that fool no one. Mayor Bloomberg’s actions speak far louder than his words.

Senator Thomas K. Duane

29th Senate District

New York State

December 19, 2005

To the Editor:

Mayor Bloomberg rushed to appeal Justice Doris Ling-Cohan’s historic decision in February 2005.

One of his stated reasons was that the appellate court could provide “clarity” and thereby avoid “chaos” for LGBT New Yorkers who might otherwise have to deal with the uncertainty of the legality of their marriages.

Yet it is the mayor’s own position on LGBT equality that has been confounding. While reaffirming his personal support of same-sex marriage, the mayor nevertheless provided the majority of the court the opportunity to write into the law a viewpoint that perpetuates discrimination against LGBT people.

Indeed, in the briefs submitted to the New York State Appellate Division, the city’s attorneys presented arguments that most LGBT New Yorkers thought were a thing of the past: namely, that that marriage was meant exclusively for childbearing heterosexual couples and that LGBT citizens were not meant to enjoy the rights and privileges conferred by civil marriage due to “tradition.” They even used the Bible to support the rationality of this discriminatory position.

Now that the appellate court has adopted this reasoning, Mayor Bloomberg cannot distance himself from the rationale employed by the Court, nor should we allow him to hide behind the “Some of my best friends are gay” defense. No matter how many times he repeats his assertion that he cares about LGBT equality, he must be held accountable for the damage this appeal has caused. We cannot afford more doublespeak from City Hall. When it comes to our fundamental rights as citizens, we will continue to see clearly and act with purpose. We will not stop fighting until we have won what is completely our due.

Gerard A. Cabrera, Esq.

Co-President Out People of Color Political Action Club

Doug Robinson

Co-President Out People of Color Political Action Club

Gary Parker, MSW

President Lambda Independent Democrats of Brooklyn


December 13, 2005

To the Editor:

In your article “California Girds for Marriage Fight” (by Joe Dignan, Dec. 1-7), it was reported that I complained that the Human Rights Campaign was draining precious resources from California at a time when our community is facing our greatest challenge. This was a mischaracterization. What I said was that in the past California’s LGBT community has been extremely generous to organizations and candidates outside of California. Now that we face two constitutional amendment initiatives, have an important statewide election ahead, and California has become the battleground for marriage equality, it is important that funding California’s LGBT community become the focus of funders from both inside and outside of California. This is not a complaint about HRC, in any way. In fact HRC has made California a top priority for 2006.

Geoff Kors

Executive Director Equality California


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