Golden: Who are lawmakers to change the law about gay marriage

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State Sen. Marty Golden is proud to be on the wrong side of history.

Golden (R–Bay Ridge) was the only Brooklyn state senator to vote against same-sex marriage late on June 24 — yet at his first public appearance hours after the historic civil rights vote, the Catholic cop-turned–politician remained adamant that barring gays from entering into the same marriage contracts as non-gay couples is the right thing to do.

“My faith guided me, as it has throughout my political career, in deciding what is right and what is wrong, and as such, I couldn’t and didn’t vote to legalize same sex marriage,” Golden told Knights of Columbus members before a pre-Fourth of July parade along 13th Avenue in Dyker Heights on Saturday — just hours after the Senate passed the controversial marriage equality bill with a slim 33–29 vote. Gov. Cuomo signed the legislation minutes later.

“We must continue to oppose this challenge to our faith and this destruction of the sacrament of marriage,” Golden added.

His comments on Saturday echoed a statement that he put out on Friday night to voice his opposition to the biggest civil rights vote in his political career.

“An issue of this magnitude should have been given to the people of this great state to decide, not 62 men and women,” he said in a statement that called for a public, California-style referendum on same-sex marriage.

Golden clarified the point on Saturday: “If the people of this state decide to redefine an institution which is older and more sacred than our own democracy, then so be it. But the state Senate should not have been the ones to do it. For us to think that we have the authority to redefine a Holy Sacrament, based on the pressure of well funded special interests, is a manipulation of that which we were sent here to do.”

His Brooklyn colleagues disagreed.

“It’s rare that we have an opportunity to vote on something with as personal and immediate an impact on our constituents as marriage equality,” state Sen. Daniel Squadron (D–Brooklyn Heights) said. “On Friday night, we lived up to the values on which New York and this country were founded … and we set an example that I hope the rest of the country quickly follows.”

Even state Sen. Carl Kruger (D–Brighton Beach) — who voted against the bill in 2009, but was outed as a homosexual in a recent FBI probe — voted for the measure, claiming that legalizing same-sex marriage was “the reaffirmation of what a family is.”

Golden’s vote was expected, as was his disgust with the entire issue. Earlier this year, Golden had said that his constituents “don’t give a rat’s ass” about gay marriage.

The comment prompted more than 100 gay marriage supporters to protest outside of Golden’s Fifth Avenue office.

Golden isn’t the only Brooklyn legislator opposed to oppose gay marriage. Before the Senate took up the bill, the measure passed the Assembly with an 80-63 vote — but without the help of Assemblymembers Peter Abbate (D–Dyker Heights), Inez Barron (D–Canarsie), Steven Cymbrowitz (D–Sheepshead Bay) and Dov Hikind (D–Borough Park).

New York now joins Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, Iowa and Washington, D.C. in legally recognizing gay marriage. After the law takes effect in 30 days, same-sex couples can get married and begin receiving the same state benefits that heterosexual couples do.

Gays won’t receive any federal benefits, however, since same sex marriages aren’t recognized nationwide, a result of the Clinton-era “Defense of Marriage Act.”

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Reader Feedback

Richard Grayson from Williamsburg says:
Mr. Golden continues to represent the past. Demographic and generational changes in his district in southern Brooklyn (I grew up and lived as an adult in areas he currently represents) will get him out of office eventually, if either redistricting doesn't. In any case, he is an old man, like Archbishop Dolan, who represents a narrow, bigoted view and seems proud of it.

It would be good to have demonstrations at his summer concerts (with performers clearly not ready for prime time at SummerStage, Celebrate Brooklyn!, the Williamsburg Waterfront, the Seaside and Martin Luther King Jr. Concerts, River to River Festival, etc.) this year, and people in the community are organizing such demonstrations already.

He is entitled to his views. It's troubling that he doesn't understand the way decisions are made -- we are a democracy, not a republic, and New York doesn't have the referendum/proposition framework of some states like California and Florida -- and that Senator Golden, after all his years in Albany, is ignorant of the way New York Constitution or the U.S. Constitution provide for state laws to be made. But, you know, ignorance is often across the board, and this man seems proud of his.
June 27, 2011, 3:24 am
Kenny M from Brighton says:
“We must continue to oppose this challenge to our faith and this destruction of the sacrament of marriage,”

Apparently Golden does not understand the separation of church and state. Does he also propose that we outlaw divorce because the church does not recognize it?
June 27, 2011, 6:41 am
tupelo35 from windsor terrace says:
when mario cuomo ran against koch his mantra was " vote for cuomo , not the homo.
now, thanks to his son andrew ,not only can we vote for one, now we can marry one
June 27, 2011, 7:22 am
Kerri says:
Leaders are supposed to lead! If your undying "faith" precludes you from leading then you need to retire to a bungalow in Breezy... and take Dov Hikind with you.

This was the biggest civil rights vote in their political career and they were both on the wrong side of history. Let them live with that fact. I wouldn't be so proud.
June 27, 2011, 9:25 am
Big V from Park Slope says:
Kerri -- exactly. Elected representatives are also elected to represent EVERYBODY -- not just the hysterical religious fanatics who insist on imposing their "faith" on everyone else. Sen. Golden should be ashamed of himself for voting to maintain the bigoted and discriminatory status quo. Real leaders don't cave in to persecution of minorities, and Golden did. Here's hoping we see him filing for unemployment soon...
June 27, 2011, 9:32 am
WW from Bay Ridge says:
While the States are redefining marriage, the press is redefining the language.

There never was a law in any of the 50 states against Gay marriage.

Gay people could always marry - otherwise Liza Minnelli would still be single, and Jim McGreevey of NJ would not have married twice.

There was no law that permitted 2 people of the same sex to marry each other.

Now they are permitted to. It is a States Rights issue, but muddling the language to call it Gay marriage weakens the case.

The real winners are the lawyers - big business by any other name!
June 27, 2011, 9:33 am
isa from greenpoint says:
WW, you're the first person I've encountered who gets that difference! I've been saying that gays already have been marrying for years, for whatever reasons - in heterosexual traditional marriages to advance their careers, blend in socially, adopt kids, etc. This was NOT a bill for "gay" marriage, it permits same-sex marriage. Maybe some same-sex people will also marry for the same reasons gays and straights would sometimes marry. It is after all, big business, as you say. Nothing wrong with that, it's between two consenting adults.
June 27, 2011, 11:35 am
June from Bay Ridge says:
June 27, 2011, 12:15 pm
tupelo35 from windsor terrace says:
It's amazing how many votes can be bought by the gay community.

Laws should be implemented by the voice of the voters , not a small group of politicians who want to hang on to their jobs.
June 27, 2011, 2:44 pm
Robert P from Bay Ridge says:

@Richard Grayson from Williamsburg: Excellently well said!

It's really time for Marty and his 20th century viewpoint to retire.
June 27, 2011, 3:28 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Marty Golden still represents those who are still stuck in th past. I never could understand what some have against same sex marriage anyway unless they happen to homophobes. Having equal rights like these should not be voted on. Imagine if the south had a say whether or not to end slavery, and the plantation owners would be in full force to keep it, or sexists would make sure that women could never vote or have the same status as men, or hate groups would make sure that the Civil Rights Act would never pass. There is a reason why James Madison wrote Federalist No 51 to make sure that tyranny doesn't decide everything especially when it comes to equal rights. Just recently in California, Propositon 8 was overturnned for violating constitutional rights. In some voting like this, hate groups are known to have the influence hence history can repeat itself.
June 27, 2011, 4:56 pm
July from BR says:
Marty should ban the pill and all forms of contraception from being sold to Catholics. He's going to need a future base to secure his position.
June 27, 2011, 5:47 pm
judahspechal from bedstuy says:
Denying anyone, anywhere, the right to live the one life God gave them, (yes we know only of one) in the manner that makes one happy is on itself a sin.
June 27, 2011, 8:53 pm
Ben says:
Well put, Kerry !

"Leaders are supposed to lead! If your undying "faith" precludes you from leading then you need to retire to a bungalow in Breezy... and take Dov Hikind with you.

This was the biggest civil rights vote in their political career and they were both on the wrong side of history. Let them live with that fact. I wouldn't be so proud. "
June 28, 2011, 4:45 pm
murtha from windsor terrace says:
marty, wake up!! get with the times!
June 28, 2011, 9:37 pm
Gene from Williamsburg says:
You recongnize bigotry and bias in everyone but yourselves. You all have the menality of 2 year olds. If it's your opinion and what you want, then it's good and everyone else who doesn't hold your view in no good. Take a ggod look, you are all the same because the other side refuses to see your point of view the wat you refuse to see theirs. Family, Church, work, comittment, ethics are all good things. When you have children, we'll see where your anything goes attitude is. Live and let live, we are all entitled to our own opinion. Whether I agree with Mr. Golden or not, I appreciate the fact that he stands on his values and does not flip flop back and forth.
June 29, 2011, 12:34 pm
Ellen from Bay Ridge says:
I have grown tired of the "my faith guides me" excuse. It's a cop out. You're a politician. Not a priest. Your constituents should guide you. Not your faith. And that is the unbiased TRUTH.
June 29, 2011, 6:13 pm
The Big Lie from Wherever Golden Speaks says:
The Bay Ridge state senator acts as if his position on the Marriage Equality Act was heartfelt and honest.

Where's the proof? What did he do to keep the vote on the bill from the floor of the senate?

Why did he say three weeks ago that if things didn't change, there would be same sex marriage in New York in about three weeks?


Ruben Diaz had it right -- the Republican MAJORITY in the New York State Senate was necessary to pass this bill -- not just a handful of Republican State Senators -- a majority of the Republican Caucus. Dean Skelos said as much.

The most of the Republican state senators wanted this issue gone, over done, behind them; the only way that would happen is if the Gay Marriage bill passed.

make no mistake, Golden did more to support marriage by serving rubber chicken at wedding receptions than he ever did in the state senate.

June 29, 2011, 10:49 pm
Where's Disanto now? from Bay Ridge says:
Recent reports indicate that Marty Golden's Bay Ridge Manor is ready to cash-in on gay marriages.

Didn't Democratic candidate Mike Disanto point out that gay marriage would spur the marrige business in Golden's state senate district during a debate with Golden in 2010? It looks like Marty was listening.

And when it come to making a conservatism will have to take a back seat.
July 2, 2011, 1:02 pm
Orlando from Sunset Park says:
The same argument for same-sex marriage could be used for human-pet marriage, or worse yet, adult-child marriage.
July 4, 2011, 5:40 pm
Tip says:
Orlando, you are brilliant. What a great, smart argument. Can you share some of your other views on the world?
July 4, 2011, 6:07 pm
Orlando's Furry Friends from Sunset Park says:
There would likely be very few receptions at Golden's Bay Ridge Manor for your human-pet marriages, so the same argument wouldn't be likely to find as much favor with Golden's strawmen (his brother and wife).
July 4, 2011, 10:27 pm
Lawrence from Park Slope says:
The idea of human-pet marriage or adult child marriage is a made up myth propagated by fundamentalist religious belivers designed to give pause to those that support same-sex marriage.

It has no place in this discussion and is what is known as a "red herring." It is pure propaganda.

I can't support Sen. Golden's religious conviction that marriage is between a man and a women. I don't agree with his position. I don't care whatsoever what his family business does, within the law.

Get over it, religious zealots of Brooklyn. The great United States of American has separation of Church and State. I know it is hard to swallow seperation of church and state, but if you can't live with it, please return to your little village in a far off land, where the priests and nuns run the show.

Long live the US constitution and the separation of Church and State. The founders had it right.

The Pope's law is not US or NY State law. Get it?
July 6, 2011, 9:06 am
Golden's Brain from ...On DRUGS says:
Let's get this straight (oops!)

Did State Senator Martin Golden essentially say, "Who are legislators to legislate?"

"The State Senate should not have been the ones to do it..."

After all these years, somebody should tell Mr. Golden what New York State Senators do.
July 6, 2011, 11:41 pm
Bernstein says:
Golden also said "We need more Jewish". The man is a brilliant orator.
July 9, 2011, 6:14 pm
Golden's Brain from The Crack House says:
With each passing day more and more people in Bay Ridge and the rest of State Senator Martin Golden's district that see him as a cranky old man with little worthwhile to say about anything important.

Make no mistake in Golden's world, in spite of what he DID say on the Gay Marriage front, there is no "need more
Jewish" unless they are certainly going to vote for him.
July 10, 2011, 9:32 am
teddy cantoni from howard beach ny says:
god bless Marty Golden 80 percent of level minded people agree with the senator its the lies of the media and hollywood that have brainwahed the people .the people that disagree with golden where'sthat tolerence you always talk about.its thank you
July 26, 2011, 10:38 am
80% solution is not enough from Hamilton Beach says:
Mr. Teddy Cantoni,

You want to give State Senator Golden and his ilk credit for a negative-negative. You're just like all the Republican State Senators who want credit for their "NO" vote on the legislation, while they were the ones who actually ALLOWED same sex marriage to become the law in New York State by allowing a vote on the bill in the senate.

There was one way to stop the law --- stop the vote in the NY State Senate. The Republican state senate majority and its leadership didn't have the courage to just say "NO", not in a senate that we control.
July 28, 2011, 10:53 pm
Ellen from Bay Ridge says:
This post was made on Sunday. Why would the senator share hate on Sunday? If you don't like that type of relationship, just ignore it.
July 8, 2015, 1:37 pm

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