Pro-family activism that makes a difference!

MassResistance: New York

New York Orthodox rabbis fighting hard for traditional marriage

See below: Articles, photos, latest news.

June 16: Staten Island News "With just 1 vote needed for gay marriage bill, pressure building on Staten Island's state Sen. Andrew Lanza"

New York "Gay marriage" vote stalled in state Senate thanks to tireless lobbying from pro-family side

Huge battle this week as session winds down

"Religious exemptions" being opposed by religious groups

POSTED: June 19, 2011

As New York State's official legislative session draws to a close, there is a furious effort by the liberal establishment to pass the "gay marriage" bill into law.  It's passed the state Assembly, but there is still just one vote in the Senate keeping from passing.

See current text of "Marriage Equality Act" HERE.

Battling in the NY State House: Rabbi Leiter talks to NY State Sen. James Alesi, a Republican who recently caved in and switched his vote to support "gay marriage."

[New York Times photo. See article below.]

The homosexual lobby and liberal establishment are staging an enormous, well-funded and well organized lobbying campaign, which includes an expensive PR campaign and an organized effort generating a flood of phone calls from key districts. The Governor, Mayor of New York, major entertainers, sports figures, business figures (even Republicans!), and of course the media are all part of the big "civil rights" push.

Earlier this week the "gay marriage" bill was quickly introduced into the state Assembly and breezed through as expected. But it's still one vote short in the Senate, even after several key "pro-family" Senators caved in to the intense pressure over the last several days and switched to supporting the bill.

The legislative session officially ends on Monday, June 20, but it's expected that the Governor will extend the session until he can get the votes to pass "gay marriage". However, it's up to the Republican Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, an opponent of the bill, to allow it to get to the floor for a vote. He has not indicated what he'll do, which has our side very uneasy to say the least.

However, from MassResistance's information talking with pro-family advocates, our side is fighting hard, what we perceive to be a three-pronged battle to push back the pro-gay marriage flood:

  • Groups of clergy and others have been practically camping out at the State House and meeting one-on-one with key Senators all week as much as they could, even approaching them in the hallways. (See NY Times article below.) In addition, our article "What same-sex 'marriage' has done to Massachusetts" has also been used.
  • Churches and others across the state have been have been organizing their own lobby and phone campaigns.
  • The National Organization for Marriage is setting up a massive buzzer-beating campaign of TV ads and 500,000 phone calls from key districts.

Nevertheless, we've been told by people at the State House that with the back-room deals, horse-trading, and general high-pressure tactics by the Democratic leadership and homosexual lobby, this is the sleaziest situation they've ever seen and there's no way to determine how things will come out. As we saw in Massachusetts and other states, the proponents of "gay marriage" are obsessed with doing anything they can, including extending the session, to get the votes and have it pass the Senate.

And of course (also see article below) there is the inevitable demonization of people with traditional values, while anti-family advocates are painted as "civil rights heroes".

Can the remaining pro-family Senators hold out and keep their principles? Can our side get any of the turncoat votes back? We'll see.

Here's how the New York Times has assessed the situation:

Same-Sex Marriage Opponents Frustrated in N.Y. Lobbying
By THOMAS KAPLAN, The New York Times
June 16, 2011

See entire article HERE

ALBANY - The Rev. Duane R. Motley, a Baptist minister, stood in a marble hallway in the Capitol on Thursday, frustrated. Behind the closed door, all of the Senate Republicans were meeting with one of the state's most prominent supporters of same-sex marriage, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg. But Mr. Motley, a leading opponent of same-sex marriage, could not get the same audience.

"They won't let me address them," Mr. Motley groused, before returning to huddle with a group of local pastors. "God has defined what marriage is, and the government doesn't have the right to redefine it."

Advocates for same-sex marriage have attracted months of attention with video testimonials from celebrities, support from business leaders and speeches by elected officials, including Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo. But in Albany, opponents have found it harder to garner attention for their arguments - chiefly that God and natural law had established marriage as between a man and a woman, and that the state should not try to change that.

"Even ultra-liberal senators should understand that the government should have no right to impose a counter-biblical definition of marriage, family and gender," said Rabbi Noson S. Leiter, executive director of Torah Jews for Decency, a group based in Monsey, N.Y.

On Thursday, Rabbi Leiter and other clergy members adopted a strategy similar to that used by gay-rights advocates, buttonholing on-the-fence lawmakers and giving interviews to the growing pack of reporters here . . .

. . . And last month the National Organization for Marriage, an advocacy group that fights against same-sex marriage around the country, promised to spend $1 million to mount primary election challenges against any Republican lawmaker who supported same-sex marriage.

Mr. Motley, the senior lobbyist for a group called New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms, said he had already been contacted by Republicans interested in running against the two Republican senators who this week said they would support the marriage bill, James S. Alesi of Monroe County and Roy J. McDonald of Saratoga County. Mr. Motley would not identify any possible candidates.

Mr. Motley, who has lobbied on religious issues for 29 years, said his job had been getting harder, because some of the younger legislators who took office in recent years "have a different mind-set."

"Many of them are not married, so they don't understand," he said. "And many of them are not spiritual."

Some lawmakers have been quite explicit about their frustration with some opponents of same-sex marriage. Senator Diane J. Savino, Democrat of Staten Island, taped a handwritten sign outside her legislative office this week that said, "Bigots and homophobes please put your literature here," with an arrow pointing to a box lid on the ground.

On her Facebook wall Ms. Savino wrote, "If you could see and hear some of the rhetoric you would appreciate my sign."

Another danger looming: the “religious exemptions” compromise

The liberal establishment’s lobbying effort intensified last week. Some “pro-family” Republican senators have reacted to that by redoubling their previous efforts to make the bill more palatable by adding “religious exemptions.”  These would exempt religious institutions from many aspects of the bill. 

As the New York Times reported, last week a group of Republican senators met with the Governor to persuade him to add such exemptions to the ones already in the bill. As the Times observed, “The legislation already includes language that exempts broad classes of religious institutions and private benevolent organizations from hosting or recognizing gay ceremonies, while indemnifying such institutions from lawsuits.” But the senators are seeking stronger and more specific exemptions.

Most homosexual groups are opposed to any religious exemptions because they want everyone to be forced to accept “gay marraige.” But conservatives see religious exemptions as an unfair penalty to regular religious people whose employment or situations are not specified in the exemptions. Thus these "exemptions" provide cover for reluctant legislators to support the “gay marriage” bill, while still constituting a general threat to religious freedom.

Torah Jews for Decency has been lobbying heavily against religious exemptions for several weeks. And last week the New York State Catholic Conference was also at the State House letting legislators know that religious exemptions won’t change their minds about the bill.

The Catholic Conference told the New York Times, "It should be noted that we will continue to strongly oppose any redefinition of the historic understanding of marriage, regardless of the strength of the religious liberty protections."

Inside the New York State House: Getting the message out!

A frantic week ahead . . .

The legislative session is scheduled to end on Monday, but as reported above, the Governor and his liberal allies will likely extend it for this bill. We are in close contact with pro-family advocates and will keep you updated on this. Also see our special MassResistance page on the New York marriage battle, which we plan to update frequently until the session ends..

NY Legislature to vote on "gay marriage" this week

Several "pro-family" Republicans selling out and switching votes under pressure

POSTED: June 16, 2011

It's been a very, very difficult week for the pro-family movement in New York State. The battle for votes in the State Senate for the "gay marriage" bill is unbelievable. The New York legislative session ends this Monday, June 20.

Last night, as expected, it passed the House chamber -- the Assembly -- by a vote of 80-63.

But the real fight has been in the Senate. In the Senate, our side has generally had about a 4-vote margin. But over the last week it's been chipped down to just one vote, where it stands now. If they can flip one vote, they can push it through.

Rabbi Noson Leiter and his group from Torah Jews for Decency have been lobbying fiercely for traditional marriage at the New York State House in Albany.

In other words, key Republicans have been caving in and the battle is on to keep any more from jumping ship. It's disgraceful to see formerly "good" legislators suddenly announce that they're now for "marriage equality" or similar lunacy. To their credit, pro-family groups, including the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) have vowed to make sure their constituents know this on election day.

The Governor, Mayor of New York, the liberal establishment, Wall Street Republicans (yes, you've read this correctly), sports figures, and celebrities far and wide have been lobbying very aggressively for the "gay marriage" bill. And across the state homosexual activists have been attempting their usual intimidation tactics (see video).

On our side are churches, the Orthodox Jewish community, and lots and lots of regular people that are battling equally hard.

A Senate vote is expected to take place today or Friday. We've been in constant contact with key Orthodox Jewish activists, who have used our MassResistance material on "What Same-Sex 'Marriage' did to Massachusetts" in State House lobbyng. Can our side hold the line?

June 16: CNN: New York Assembly approves same-sex marriage

June 15: New York Daily News: New York Assembly passes bill to legalize gay marriage 80-63; Legislation now heads to Senate

June 15 (pro-gay blog) New York Giants owner announces support for homosexual "marriage".

June 15 (pro-gay blog) In NY Senate: 3 Democrats, 2 Republicans reverse positions and support homosexual "marriage".

June 14: With just 1 vote needed for gay marriage bill, pressure building on Staten Island's state Sen. Andrew Lanza

June 14: New York Daily News: NY Senate Gay Marriage Vote Likely Friday

"Torah Jews for Decency" lobbying, organizing to stop "gay marriage" bill now in New York State Senate.

POSTED: June 6, 2011

THE LATEST : Gay Marriage Bill. This is a real battle. This bill is being pushed hard by the Governor, the (Republican) Mayor of New York, Wall Street businessmen, major sports figures, labor unions, and even wealthy Republicans.

The bill is being fought equally hard by a broad coalition of religious groups and the National Organization of Marriage, which has pledged $1.5 million to defeat any Republican who votes for it or to support any Democrat who votes against it.

Orthodox rabbis from "Torah Jews for Decency" outside of the
New York State House after lobbying several Senators inside.

The legislative session ends June 20, and both sides are lobbying furiously.The bill has not been taken up by the House yet. It will be formally introduced and voted on in the Senate -- as soon as the Governor identifies a clear majority for it to pass it there. But despite huge pressure from the liberal establishment, that's not yet happened. The tally is currently 26 Senators for the bill, 28 against, and 8 on the fence -- 5 Republicans and 3 Democrats.

Rabbi Leiter

MassResistance has been working closely with an Orthodox Jewish political group, Torah Jews for Decency, which has been personally lobbying a number of Senators, as well as organizing to put pressure on others. They have also asked MassResistance to devote some pages on our website for their material, since we are considered fairly prominent. We plan to put that up this weekend.

It's an interesting situation. Although the big money and influence are on the pro-"gay marriage" side, the local pressure in the districts is overwhelmingly against it. The reason for that is that, except for homosexual activists, the large numbers of people in New York who do support gay marriage are not particularly passionate about it. But the people in the districts against it are VERY passionate about it and willing to be very vocal and active. Thus, even some pro-gay marriage Senators have decided to be in the "anti" gay marriage camp on this one.

Right now our side has the edge, despite the huge money the establishment is throwing at it. Can that hold until June 20? We'll see.

Letter to Republican Senate Majority Leader

POSTED: June 6, 2011

The following letter, written by Rabbi Noson Leiter, was distributed to constituents in the Republican Majority Leader's district and sent to him last week.  It resulted in a meeting being scheduled this week with Rabbi Leiter.

Senator Dean Skelos
President Pro Tem
Majority Leader
332 State Capitol
Albany NY 12247
518-455-3171 / F: 426-6950

Honorable Dean Skelos,

Thank you for your defense of Marriage in the past. We now plead with you: please do not hold yet another vote on de-defining Marriage. It would be an affront to the Creator, and threaten Religious Liberty for all Bible-believers.

The most effective way the Republicans have of attracting and keeping Orthodox Jewish support is by defending Marriage.

If the Republican Party cannot stand up for Marriage, they send a message that they do not truly stand for anything.

(We are NOT asking for funding, programs, or any special favors. We are simply begging you not to risk our religious liberties and our childrens' future.)

Also please realize that to include "religious exemptions" in any de-definition of marriage would be perhaps the greatest threat to Marriage. That would increase the likelihood of passage (as the recent Maryland experience shows.) By trying to delay our defeat, we would ensure it. Additionally, religious exemptions could never protect us - particularly private individuals and business-owners - from all the effects of this bill, nor could they render such an attack on the Bible "kosher."

Instead, we urge you to push for Senate passage of the Defense Of Marriage Act in NY, as introduced by the esteemed Senator Marty Golden.

Thank you very much. This issue is more important for our vote than any social service or material benefit. Our vote for you depends on your leadership in decisively defending Marriage.


The Road to Hell is Paved With Religious Exemptions"

Rabbi Noson S. Leiter
Torah Jews for Decency, Executive Director
Garden State Parents for Moral Values, Spokesman
Tomim-Tihiyeh, Founder

(Distributed among various religious groups.)

The following are some primary objections to the inclusion of "Religious Exemptions" in any Marriage Re-Definition legislation.

1. Religious exemptions do NOT alter the basic premise and nature of the bill, which is antithetical to Biblical values and a rebellion against the Creator.

2. Religious exemptions threaten to ensure passage of this contraversial legislation. That would likely have occurred in marriage re-definition, had the Religious exemptions been added to the bill. This is because adding religious exemptions provisions provide anti-marriage legislators in pro-decency districts with somewhat of a pretext to allow them to vote for de-defining marriage.

3. Religious exemptions would by nature be limited. For example, Religious exemptions would NOT extend to every individual person (and theoretically, even if they would, they wouldn't be accepted by the LGBT agitators). Civil Rights trump religious liberty (Bob Jones Univ. a case in point). Once civil "gay marriage" would become law, it would create a Compelling State Interest in ensuring compliance. That could easily trample religious objections of individuals.

4. Religious exemptions may be degraded or decimated (at least in part) by the leftwing courts. In NY, given our AG Schneiderman, who fanatically campaigned on promoting the LGBT regime (perhaps to the extent of making Sharia Law look appealing in comparison), we can expect Religious exemptions exemptions to go the way of anti-sodomy laws.

5. No Religious exemptions would even purport to spare us the societal fallout of marriage re-definition, e.g. public performances deleterious to children and adults alike; ostracism of Bible-adherents in the business world and mainstream public life; and much more