I am a supporter of traditional marriage between a man and a woman.  In recent years, with the advent of the “Me Generation” and judicial activism, the cultural élite have relentlessly pursued unfettered individual choice without regard for tradition, the needs of children or nature itself.  In 2009, we saw same-sex marriage bills defeated in both the New York and New Jersey State Senates. And in 2010, we saw the successful repeal and referenda efforts across the nation.
 While in the Assembly, I fought for tradition when I opposed the marriage equality act.  I voted against this bill not only to preserve the rich tradition of marriage but because codifying same-sex marriage would set up a vast and unnecessary legal conflict between sexual and religious liberty.
 The Governor’s program bill does not preserve religious freedom.  It contains very narrow and unnecessary protection for clergy who do not wish to solemnize gay marriages. No one seriously believes that clergy will be forced, or even asked, to perform marriages they oppose. The issue of “forced solemnization” is a distraction from the real issues of religious liberty that the legislation fails to address.
 The bill does not protect religious organizations and individuals from being coerced into recognizing the equivalence of marriage and same-sex relationships against their principles.  As a consequence of this law, they may withdraw from important activities, such as education, health care, and social service or risk severe penalties and punishment.  These effects will be widespread and devastating to New York in the current economic climate. 
 These conflicts will spawn years of costly litigation, not only for religious organizations and individuals, but for small businesses owned by conscientious objectors across the state.  Passage of the same-sex marriage bill will not end this debate, it will just begin it.
 I continue to advocate for traditional marriage and oppose same-sex unions in order to protect the sanctity of marriage.  We must not allow the rich tradition of marriage to be destroyed.
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