New Yorkers Rally Against — And For — Gay Marriage At City Hall

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A group of gay marriage opponents gathered Tuesday at New York’s City Hall to rally against Mayor Bloomberg’s support for marriage equality, as a bill to legalize same-sex marriage gains momentum in the state legislature this week.Last Month, Bloomberg gave a passionate speech advocating for legalizing gay marriage. “On matters of freedom and equality, history has not remembered obstructionists kindly,” he said. “Not on abolition. Not on women’s suffrage. Not on workers’ rights. Not on civil rights. And it will be no different on marriage rights.”

Bloomberg’s speech came as Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) had been pushing to legalize gay marriage before the end of the legislative session on June 20. He said this week that it will come up for a vote in the state Senate before next Monday. This Monday, four of the undecided eight lawmakers — three Democrats and one Republican — announced that they would support the legislation when it comes up. This means only two more supporters are needed for the measure to pass.

On Tuesday about 50 clergy members gathered on the steps of City Hall for a press conference to protest Bloomberg’s support, and another 30 opponents stood on the street with signs that said things like, “let the people vote on marriage” and “HONK for traditional marriage.” They chanted “marriage is between one man and one woman,” and “children need both a mother and a father.”

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John Ritchie from the The American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property (TFP) told TPM that he’s heard from people all around New York and an “overwhelming” number of them “do not want same sex marriage in the state.” He said his group wants “to work inside the culture so that the homosexual behavior will be rejected by our culture.” When asked about the polls that show that a majority of New Yorkers do support marriage equality, Ritchie said “to paraphrase Churchill, I only believe the polls that I myself falsify.”

Around the corner, around 30 counter-protesters sang “We Shall Overcome” and carried rainbow flags in view of the steps of City Hall. Rich Murray, from the group Queer Rising, said that the momentum this week was heartening, but these protests weren’t: “We’re really close but this doesn’t help.”

“We know the polls are on our side,” he said, adding: “At the core their battle is lost. We’re going to win this battle.”

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