Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Equality Fails in the Town of Oyster Bay

Dan Pinello and Lee Nissensohn who have been together for 13 years went to the Town Clerk office in the Town of Oyster Bay to get a marriage license. Unfortunately, current New York State law makes it illegal for them to get married and have the same rights as same-sex couples. Town Clerk Steve Labriola and Supervisor John Venditto were there to greet the couple and the news cameras. Since it is out of his hands legally, Labriola had to deny them a marriage license.
According to Pinello and Nissensohn, this was not just about obtaining the a license. Newsday reports
"The goal of the couple's "act of civil disobedience" - as they called it - was to persuade Sen. Carl Marcellino (R-Syosset) to pressure State Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno (R-Brunswick) to take a bill that would allow same-sex marriage to the Senate floor for a vote."

And that is the heart of it. The New York State Assembly has passed legislation to legalize same-sex marriage and give loving couples the same rights other married couples have.
Marcellino and the Senate republicans stance brings to mind the anti-miscegenation laws that kept bias alive in the law until 1967.
What is Bruno afraid of if the bill goes to the floor?
That it will pass?
Marcellino agrees with current state law that bars same-sex marriage.

This is a letter Newsday printed back in 2005. I was responding to columnist Ray Keating's ramblings about "Traditional Marriage."

"Raymond J. Keating is one of the many pseudo-intellectuals who use the buffet-style version of history and religion. He takes what he likes and ignores the rest.
He speaks of "traditional marriage" as if marriage today reflects any tradition older than 50 years ["We need amendment protecting marriage," Opinion, Feb. 14]. Replace the word "interracial" for "gay" and you have what bigots used to protect "traditional" marriage less than 50 years ago. Go back 100 years and marriages for money, business and convenience were the tradition. Go further back and families practically sold their young daughters.
Marriage strictly for love the way we have it today is a fairly new tradition. I'd like to know which "tradition" Keating wants.
If Keating wants to go biblical, we can talk about Deuteronomy and the stoning of non-virgin brides and a rapist's being able to pay the father of the victim and the victim is then the rapist's wife. Even polygamy was accepted in the Bible. It is clear that marriage has changed over the millennia and will continue to change.
I can't see what the harm is in allowing same-sex couples to marry. As a married heterosexual, I don't feel threatened and neither should Keating. The so-called activist judges are protecting society from uninformed moralists who don't believe in the equal protection under the law but seek a theocratic government based on their own misinterpretation of religion.”


jacy said...

It is embarrassing to think that in this day and age, there is actually a law that prohibits same sex marriages. So they prefer to be with someone of the same sex, what's the big deal? I know Lee, personally, and he is a kind, very polite, and intelligent man. So why can't he and his partner of 13 years, Dan have the same rights as the rest of us? Just because it makes some others a little uncomfortable? I was not aware of Lee and Dan's plans. Had I been, I would have been out there with the rest of their supporters. Same sex marriage needs to be legalized in ALL states.

Anonymous said...

Lee is one of the best human beings alive in the universe, and if he wants to marry, or raise chickens, or collect stamps, he should be allowed to.
If heterosexuality is 'natural,' then marriage certainly is not, or divorce rates and domestic violence wouldn't be so prevalent.
If people want to preserve traditional marriage, then pass a law banning divorce -- but don't deny Lee and Dan the right to marry!
Save Lee and Dan!

James said...

It makes me sick that these bigots believe they have the right to interfere with the lives of others.

How does the marriage of a same sex couple affect their lives to the extent that they feel the need to publicly object to it?

I hate to say this, because I know that there are a lot of very good people who are religious, but religion is almost always the reason for such bigoted behavior.
Trying to force people to conform to your own religious ideals makes you no better than the terrorists who use violence to the same end.

This couple are tax paying adults living in a country that is proudly based on freedom and democracy. How dare the political system deny them their right to get married?

If Lee and Dan want to get married, that is their business, nobody else's.

People who want to make it their business because of personal religious beliefs should be ignored.

Unfortunately, since these people sometimes hold positions of political power, this is not always possible.

This is the 21st century. People who still have an imaginary friend after the age of 8 should be given the psychiatric care they need, not positions of authority.

My future wife and I are getting married in Oyster Bay next week.
It is my sincere hope that Lee and Dan are afforded the same dignity very soon.