If New Religious 'Carve Outs' Are Too Extreme, Do Not Pass NY Gay Marriage

For three days, we have been waiting.

For three days, those who care about marriage equality in New York have waited, huddled outside of doors, as Republicans have conferenced, as they've met privately with the governor, as they've agonized over -- what? Certainly not the opportunity to do what's right and bring the gay marriage vote -- with an additional Republican signed on -- to the floor.

No, instead, as Republican Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos said early this afternoon, they are talking about extreme religious "carve outs" that would mean that if a florist, a caterer, a hotel -- or, say, an adoption agency -- didn't like those gays, well, then, they wouldn't need to serve us.


We have the right to not be discriminated against now. We have the right to adoption now. We are protected now.

And we can marry in Massachusetts (etc.) and have it legally recognized in New York now.

A bill that narrows instead of expands our rights is unacceptable. And no matter how heartbreaking it is, we must say no.

Marriage means a lot to us. And when I say "us," I mean me, personally, since I am engaged to a woman I love deeply and we are waiting on New York to get its act together to marry. But it is not worth it if getting married in New York means that we will be newly discriminated against. It is not worth it to suddenly have to worry that any business -- every business -- in New York State could suddenly discriminate against us because we are a lesbian couple.


That potential bill is a bad bill. It is not about compromise -- it is a backdoor to vicious segregation and discrimination.

Marriage that is defined as a union of two committed people for their mutual love and support does not "redefine" marriage. You know what would "redefine marriage"? A bill that makes it so that if you get married you have fewer civil rights than you had before. If anything killed marriage, it would be that.

The gay marriage bill as it stands is a good one. But accepting one with exemptions that are too broad is not the way to go. If that's our only option, then no thank you. We'll vote the Republicans out of office and try again.

Jennifer Vanasco is the editor in chief of 365gay.com.