Reacting to New York Governor Eliot Spitzer’s introduction of a bill in the state legislature to legalize “alternative-lifestyle marriage” in New York [as reported HERE on YW], Agudath Israel of America called the proposed legislation “objectionable morally and dangerous practically.”
“The legalization of ‘alternative-lifestyle marriage’ in New York State,” said Rabbi David Zwiebel, executive vice president for government and public affairs for Agudath Israel of America, “would be profoundly offensive to communities like ours and to countless other New Yorker State residents who consider the institution of marriage in its traditional form to be the foundation not only of family but of civilized society.”
The Agudath Israel leader further averred that the governor’s bill would represent a profound threat to religious liberty.
“While, commendably, the bill would not compel clergy to solemnize any such ‘marriage’,” he said, “it contains no such protections for religious institutions that would be forced, against their beliefs, to accord full marital privileges to employees whose ‘marriages’ to same-sex partners have been solemnized under state law.”
“There is yet more mischief in this proposal,” Rabbi Zwiebel asserted. “If ‘same-sex marriage’ is the civil rights equivalent of women being able to vote or blacks being able to drink from the same water-fountains as whites, as the bill’s supporting memorandum claims, then the unspoken message of the bill, intended or not, is a clear one: Traditional religious beliefs are bigotry.
“To the bill’s proponents, we say, respectfully but firmly: That is not so. Our beliefs are those of the Bible and the Jewish religious tradition for millennia. And your endeavor serves to deride and disparage them.”