My dear brothers and sisters in the Lord,
As this column goes to press, our legislators in Albany are deciding if New York State will recognize same-sex “marriage,” a radical step that will remove the most basic, essential characteristic of marriage and change its very fundamental nature.
Governor Andrew Cuomo has made it his personal mission to bring this bill to a vote that would recognize unions between homosexual couples as “marriages.” The control of this debate has been in the New York State Senate. State Senators who have seemingly held the power on this vote are three Democrats: Joseph Addabbo, Carl Kruger and Shirley Huntley, who each represent constituents within our diocese. Early last week, they switched from an undecided vote to supporting same-sex marriage.
Their actions of voting in support of this legislation represent not only a destructive development for our state, but also show a heightened disrespect for the thousands of constituents — Catholic and non-Catholic alike — that have let their legislators know they are against same-sex marriage.
While we must thank leaders such as Conservative Party chairman Mike Long and National Organization for Marriage president Brian Brown for their heroic efforts to oppose the very powerful and well-funded efforts to impose this legislation upon New Yorkers, we must also let our voices be heard. We decry the actions of Mr. Addabbo, Mr. Kruger and Ms. Huntley. My hope is that constituents will hold these elected officials accountable for their decisions.
If this legislation is brought to a vote, Republican Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos will ultimately be responsible for the passage of same-sex marriage in our state. The Senate Majority Leader should take a stand otherwise this issue will ironically be decided by Mr. Kruger, who is under indictment, and Ms. Huntley, who is being investigated for public corruption. Sadly, this is the character of our elected officials who are essentially redefining “marriage.”
Ultimately, Mr. Skelos, Mr. Addabbo, Mr. Kruger and Ms. Huntley have ignored their constituents and preferred the counsel of powerful and well-funded elites. Over the past two weeks, the Catholic Citizens Committee urged voters to contact their legislators concerning their opposition to same-sex marriage, and generated over 5,000 phone calls. Our Joint Parish Respect Life Committee met with Mr. Addabbo and repeatedly communicated to him the opposition of its members to the legislation.
We are tampering with nothing less than the laws of God Himself. The dangers and the threat to marriage as a societal good, especially as a sacrament, are very probable if same-sex marriages are recognized. Marriage has forever been, is now, and always will be a joining of one man and one woman in an everlasting relationship. It is undeniably consistent with natural law and biology, and should be apparent to all, regardless of religion. Marriage is a shared personal offering between the two that serves the couple in many ways, allowing them to cultivate their love and through that love, bring about children.
It is particularly disheartening that the definition of marriage may be redefined around the weekend that celebrates Father’s Day. The bringing together of a man and woman in the covenant of marriage is an unvarying and evident reminder of God’s goodness and the beauty of the Divine plan for humanity.
As this Sunday approaches, we must ask, “Who is a father?” and “Are fathers important?” A father is a man who devotes himself to his family, who sacrifices for his children daily. This is so great a responsibility that for his own sake and those in his care, he normally and ideally lives this vocation in the context of marriage.
Common sense and practical evidence tell us that the well-being of children is best served in most cases by their being brought up in an established home with their mother and father. As we approach Father’s Day, we remember that all paternity is an exercise in putting out into the deep with many challenges to be met in fulfilling the responsibilities of fatherhood. Today, unfortunately, fathers and mothers must defend the right of every child to have a mother and a father. Hopefully, at this writing, the law in New York State is not changed, but there will be other battles and fights for marriage in the future.