N.Y. Democrats criticized for pro-gay stand
September 25 2003 12:00 AM ET
The chairman of New York's Conservative Party berated the state Democratic Committee Tuesday for approving a resolution calling for the recognition of gay marriages. "The Democratic Party has slammed the door on family values," said Michael Long one day after the state party leaders, meeting in Buffalo, backed legislation that would recognize civil marriages for same-sex couples. "They have slammed the door on the institution of marriage."
Long predicted the action would hurt New York Democrats at the ballot box. "To call for the recognition of a marriage between two men is part of a death knell for the Democratic Party in the state of New York," Long said.
The Democratic Party's action Monday in Buffalo came in the wake of last year's endorsement of Republican governor George Pataki by the state's largest gay and lesbian lobbying group, the Empire State Pride Agenda. The key endorsement came after Pataki convinced a recalcitrant GOP-led state senate to adopt legislation banning discrimination based on sexual orientation in housing, employment, and public services. Long, a Pataki ally, publicly criticized the governor at the time for backing the gay rights legislation. The governor easily won a third term.
Democratic Party leaders said their adoption of the gay marriage resolution was not aimed at the ballot box. "Inclusion is the hallmark of the Democratic Party," state Democratic Party chairman Herman Farrell said Tuesday. "While others choose to be divisive, Democrats are working hard to bring all Americans together and to bridge the divisions of race, ethnicity, class, religion, and sexual orientation."
The same-sex marriage bill was introduced earlier this year in each chamber of the legislature but failed to get out of committee in either house.