Proponents and opponents of gay
marriage in New York have taken their duel to the airwaves as a gay
marriage bill heads to the Senate.
Last week, Empire State Pride Agenda,
the gay rights group that lobbies for gay marriage in the state,
unveiled two new television ads. In one ad, a prideful mother talks
about the discrimination faced by her nineteen-year-old gay son,
“I believe that Luke has goals of
settling down with someone,” Karen Schuster of Rochester says as
the camera pans over photographs of a happy childhood. “And I want
him to be able to do that. To have the same rights as other people.”
In the second ad, a husband and wife
tell viewers it is unfair that their lesbian daughter cannot get
married while their straight one can.
Advocates have spent $200,000 on the
television commercials running in three major New York markets:
Albany, Buffalo and Syracuse.
Meanwhile, opponents are just catching
up, releasing their first ad Thursday in New York City and Albany.
Backing the effort is the Maggie
Gallagher-led National Organization for Marriage (NOM), the Christian
conservative group that has fought similar legislation in California
and throughout the New England region.
The 30-second spot promulgates the
group's latest argument: Gay marriage will impinge on the liberty and
freedom of religious organizations and the faithful.
The commercial suggests that gay
marriage will lead to children being taught about being gay and
lesbian in public schools.
“And it's not just kids who face
consequences,” a male narrator says. “The rights of people who
believe marriage means a man and a woman will no longer matter.
We'll have to accept gay marriage whether we like it or not.”
Unlike an earlier NOM effort broadcast
mostly in Northeastern states titled Gathering Storm which was
widely panned for being over-the-top, the new ad keeps it simple,
even as it scares up similar themes.
Speaking to the New York Times,
Gallagher said the commercial raises concerns about the consequences
of gay marriage.
“This message is that gay marriage
will have consequences,” Gallagher said.
“Their most powerful argument is:
'This won't matter to you, so you can drop your opposition',” she
Whether senators vote on the gay
marriage bill already passed by the Assembly within the next few
weeks before the session ends remains uncertain. Democratic Governor
David Paterson has said he would like to see the issue come up for
debate, but state Senate Majority Leader Malcolm A. Smith, a
Democrat, has said he would prefer to postpone a vote until he has
secured sufficient votes for passage.
Passage of a gay marriage bill in the
Senate seems unlikely so long as its loudest antagonist is also a
member of the Senate, Rev. Ruben Diaz, a Democrat from the Bronx.
At least one station, WPIX-TV in New
York, has refused to air NOM's anti-gay marriage ad, the group said.