NY Same-Sex Marriage Inspires Surprising and Unsurprising Reactions from Important Leaders

Now that we know how Samantha Ronson, Tegan & Sara and Neil Patrick Harris feel about marriage equality, what about the politicians and other Important Leaders?


The President of the United States:

Let’s start with the big one — President Barack Obama! From The Washington Examiner, the White House’s official statement:

The President has long believed that gay and lesbian couples deserve the same rights and legal protections as straight couples. That’s why he has called for repeal of the so-called “Defense of Marriage Act” and determined that his Administration would no longer defend the constitutionality of DOMA in the courts. The states should determine for themselves how best to uphold the rights of their own citizens. The process in New York worked just as it should.

Three years ago, during the big marriage equality controversy of the time, Obama’s stance sounded a little bit different. After the passage of Prop 8, Obama expressed disapproval, but didn’t go so far as to disagree with the basic principle of “one man, one woman.”

I’ve stated my opposition to this. I think [Prop 8 is] unnecessary. I believe marriage is between a man and a woman. I am not in favor of gay marriage. But when you start playing around with constitutions, just to prohibit somebody who cares about another person, it just seems to me that’s not what America’s about. Usually, our constitutions expand liberties, they don’t contract them.

Obama has said his ideas about gay marriage are “evolving,” but he’s stopped short of fully endorsing same-sex marriage — a move which indicates, for many, that he’s not evolving quickly enough.


Social Conservatives

New York has never been a haven for socially conservative right-wing politicians to campaign for President, so maybe our activities aren’t of particular interest to people like Michele Bachmann but regardless, same-sex marriage has passed and Michele Bachmann is kinda okay with it (although clearly she’d prefer a referendum):

BACHMANN: In New York state, they have passed the law at the state legislative level and, under the 10th amendment, the states have the right to set the laws that they want to set.
WALLACE: So even though you oppose it, then it’s okay from — your point of view — for New York to say that same-sex marriage is legal.
BACHMANN: That is up to the people of New York. I think that it’s best to allow the people to decide on this issue. I think it’s best if there is an amendment that goes on the ballot, where people can weigh in. […]
WALLACE: But you would agree, if it’s passed by the state legislature and signed by the governor, then that’s the state’s position.
BACHMANN: It’s state law. And the 10th amendment reserves to the states that right.

Other conservative reactions were as appalled and outrageous as one might expect. For instance, Ruben Diaz Jr — who you may remember has an out lesbian niece — said: “God, not Albany, has settled the definition of marriage a long time ago.”

Reportedly, Brian Brown of NOM “sat in the galley openly weeping with sadness when the 33 to 29 vote was announced.” And Maggie Gallagher had a lot of feelings:

Gay marriage was sold to many conservatives as the beginning of that process of marriage renewal. Instead, we are seeing quite clearly that victories for gay marriage lead to renewed calls for accepting family diversity under the powerful new “equality” banner institutionalized in marriage law. (Did you see the LA Times story last week that lauded the Census news on family decline on the grounds that Heather can now have three mommies, thanks to separation and re-partnering among lesbian couples? Heck, in a couple of years she can have six mommies. Families are now wonderfully fluid and to fail to applaud that would be narrow-minded bigotry.)

Our children are being re-educated as we speak.

Also, Pat Robertson thinks that “God will destroy America.” And that it will happen for reasons other than Pat Robertson saying things.


Catholic Leaders:

Top Catholic Leader Archbishop Timothy Dolan says we should speak out “clearly and forcefully” against gay marriage:

“We as Catholics would oppose any attempt by anybody to redefine marriage, whether that … whomever that may be,”We just don’t believe that marriage can be changed and radically altered to accommodate a particular lifestyle.”

Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio, representing the Diocese of Brooklyn, wrote an op-ed for the New York Daily News in which he shared several insane complaints like that society has lost “the primary purpose of marriage as the institution by which a man and woman bring new life into the world and teach the child to become a productive citizen” by making marriage about “legitimizing our individual need for love and affection.” He added that this casual view of marriage is responsible for rising numbers of divorce, single parenting, and cohabitation outside of marriage:

I believe the passage of same-sex marriage is another ‘nail in the coffin’ of marriage. It is destructive because we fail to view marriage in the context of a vocation: a calling to participate in the great enterprise of forming the next generation. Marriage is reduced to an empty honor.”


The Orthodox Jewish Union

The Jerusalem Post reports that on same-sex marriage, the Jewish community is divided. Generally Conservative and Reform Jews endorse equal rights but the Orthodox Union does “oppose the redefinition of marriage and the state sanction of same-sex marriages.” This time it seems that The Orthodox Union is, at least, satisfied with the religious exemptions added to the bill:

“Just as we, in a democratic, pluralistic society do not seek to impose our religious beliefs on others, same-sex marriage, now the law in New York, must not infringe on anyone’s religious liberties. Sadly, in too many states, those acting on their religious beliefs have seen government benefits withheld, government funds, contracts and services denied and privileges such as tax exemptions revoked. New York’s law ensures that will not happen here and employers, social service providers and houses of worship are free to uphold their faith.”


In Conclusion

It actually doesn’t matter how anyone feels about it, though, because this shit is on lock! Don Lemon, who is gay and a news anchor but somehow still got California and New York mixed up in the beginning of the broadcast, spoke to CNN Senior Legal Analyst Jeffrey Toobin who says this bill is a “done deal.”

While it won’t take effect for 30 days after it passing, Toobin  says that he doesn’t foresee any legal challenges to the law.

And what’s more, the legalization of marriage in New York state may have implications beyond its own borders. Some think that this change may have a “ripple effect” that lends momentum to marriage initiatives elsewhere in the US.

Advocate Richard Socarides says what happens in the state has national implications, and will encourage lawmakers elsewhere to support gay marriage. He says each approval like this one “feeds off of and contributes substantially to the next one.” Yale law professor William Eskridge agrees: “The more interactions Americans have with same-sex couples, the more Americans will accept same-sex marriage.”

We’ll end with an excerpt from last night’s PBS Newshour, in which Jeffery Brown did an interview with NOM Doyen Maggie Gallagher and Senator Daniel O’Donnell (who Maggie Gallagher refers to as “Daniel O’Connell”):

JEFFREY BROWN: … Where does this go from here?

MAGGIE GALLAGHER: Well, the next big fight, I think, is in New Hampshire, where the question is, in New Hampshire, the Democrats passed gay marriage, and the people elected — massively repudiated that by electing a new legislature, just as they did in Maine, by the way, in this last election cycle.

And I think the people of Maine were the first to repeal gay marriage. The question will be whether the legislature in New Hampshire becomes the second state to repeal gay marriage. There’s also a live movement in Iowa, a movement to pass a marriage amendment in North Carolina, and the people of Minnesota will decide this question, unlike the people of New York, in 2012, too.

JEFFREY BROWN: And, Mr. O’Donnell, so what is the key that you see in taking what just happened in New York to other states? What does it — what would it require in terms of politics to make happen there what happened in New York?

DANIEL O’DONNELL: Well, we have representative democracy for a reason. That’s what we have in our country.

And if you don’t believe in representative democracy, then maybe you shouldn’t live in this country.

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Riese is the 41-year-old Co-Founder of Autostraddle.com as well as an award-winning writer, video-maker, LGBTQ+ Marketing consultant and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York and now lives in Los Angeles. Her work has appeared in nine books, magazines including Marie Claire and Curve, and all over the web including Nylon, Queerty, Nerve, Bitch, Emily Books and Jezebel. She had a very popular personal blog once upon a time, and then she recapped The L Word, and then she had the idea to make this place, and now here we all are! In 2016, she was nominated for a GLAAD Award for Outstanding Digital Journalism. She's Jewish and has a cute dog named Carol. Follow her on twitter and instagram.

Riese has written 3213 articles for us.


  1. “The more interactions Americans have with same-sex couples, the more Americans will accept same-sex marriage.”

    so.. more PDA by gay people, will somebody get on that?

  2. “We as Catholics would oppose any attempt by anybody to redefine marriage….”
    Nobody is “redefining” anything. You guys defined wrong.

    Matrimonium translate “of the mother”. Speaking not of gender, but the role of women. Don’t need to be born girl, to be one…

    • Well, plus, Catholics are free to define *Catholic* marriage however they want. No one is forcing them to marry same-sex couples any more than they’re forced to marry couples who were previously married.

      This is just allowing the government to give same-sex couples marriage licenses. Non-religious opposite-sex couples have been opting for the courthouse over the church for years.

  3. I’m not really surprised by any of these, but it’s a shame the Catholic Church is all hatey. They have such lovely hats.

    (I’ve been rewatching Buffy. It does things to my vocabulary.)

    • Love this comment. I’m just glad the Catholics I know aren’t brainwashed enough to blindly follow church dogma (i.e., they have a heart.)

      • What I think is great, is a majority of the Catholics in the US don’t blindly follow church dogma. 2/3 of Catholics support gay marriage. =) They are the ones who are truly following Jesus “love your neighbor as yourself.”

  4. Dear Pat Robertson, I realize you probably don’t have a lot of free time since you must’ve been so busy picking out that tie, but even I know that half of what you said isn’t true. Please read some books.
    I mean, other than the bible.

  5. Lets learn to call a spade a spade.whatever is bad should and always be.An indiscriminate and insensitive use of “CONSTITUTION”as a veil for cover is absolutely unacceptable.Are we ready to face the future consequencies of today’s decisions and actions? pls amend ASAP.

  6. Dear Pat Robertson,

    Should angels decide to visit America, I’m almost certain no one will be attempting to rape them. Just saying.

    • Yeah, but there might be some SERIOUS consensual sex going on. Heavenly, angelic, consensual sex.


    • actually gays are notorious for attempted angel rape in the bible! when two angels came down to sodom and gomorrah in the form of human men to see if there was anyone there worth saving, they went to lot’s house and a crowd gathered outside demanding the visitors so that they could engage them non-consensually in a manner to which this city lent its name. lot, being your only upstanding citizen that god finds worth saving, offered his virgin daughters to the crowd instead (like you do), but of course those ravenous rapin’ gays demanded the angels. and that’s why god burned the whole thing down! and when lot’s wife got nostalgic/curious enough to turn around and look at the blaze – bam! pillar of salt.

      basically it seems like it’s all fun and gay orgies until someone wants to homosex an angel, and then the serious shit goes down. seriously angels, what are you trying to hide? and god, the degree of your retribution suggests that you have some possessive jealousy issues over some of these angels…

  7. MY THOUGHTS ON THE 700 CLUB (because it’s so fucking easy and fun):

    “The term ‘sodomated’ means ‘Sodom,’ and, well, what’s it like?”

    1. Incorrect past tense verb, Patty. And apparently, it’s like being destroyed by God, which sounds like good sex to me? Just sayin’.

    “In history, there has never been a civilization, ever, in history, that has embraced homosexuality, and turned away from traditional fidelity, traditional marriage, traditional child riggering, and, uh, has survived.”

    2. Is there a traditional method of child riggering? Wait, isn’t THAT what should be illegal? (also, how the hell does he pronounce “rearing” so it sounds so hilarious?)

    3. “The thing that they practiced was homosexual activity, and even they tried to rape angels, who came down. That’s the kind of people they were.”

    Okay srsly Pat Robertson can you blame me for wanting to have sex with angels, like this lady and this one and this one? Plus, everybody was sort of barbaric back in the day (your guys used to stone people to death, Pat) and we now know that consent is sexy. So come on.

    • “they tried to rape angels” I literally laughed out loud for like five minutes. Does it get any more ridiculous than that statement?HOW THE FUCK DO YOU RAPE AN ANGEL? Could they not just fly away?

      • In catholic school I was taught angels had no gender, I always imagined angels to be like a Ken doll. How can you rape a being with no genitals?

        • not that I am advocating rape. Let’s be clear, I’m not. Rape is always wrong.

          • i think dogma covered that when snape came to the abortion doctors house and she thought the ANGEL was gonna rape HER (see, church has it backwards, the angels wanna get it) and he was all like LOOK MA, NO PARTS and then he made fun of how humans look when we orgasm.

            so yeah, ken dolls. but snape is one.

      • I know, right? My brother-in-law made that same comment about Sodom/raping angels/gay marriage the night it was passed. I had to leave the room to stop a family feud from happening for reals.
        Also, the religious right mention that ‘raping angels’ thing so much but they leave off the rest- that they ended up raping the dude’s daughters instead. Like that is so much better.
        Ugh I hate religion. No offense to those religious people out there.

        • I read the first part of your comment and was like “other people use that shit?”

          And then I read the second part and was like “oh yeah, lots of crazy asshats use that shit.”

          Just like when I got kicked out of church for wearing pants. Would they rather have me come to church without pants? (They wanted to make me a giant woolen dress/leg oven.) I can respect religion, but I dislike dogma.

    • I think this is a Freudian slip on his part, because he secretly thinks that gay people are stylish.
      He wants our swag.

  8. I feel you, Maggie. I can hear the whiny kids now:

    “But mo-om, Heather gets six mommies. Why can’t I have just two?”

    On second thought, maybe you weren’t expecting the other kids to be so jealous. But that’s how I see it.

  9. I love it when people are like “If you don’t like it, leave the country.”

    I mean that’s kind of, like, why we employ democratic process, y’all.

    • This reminds me of when I was younger, and watching a fireworks display in town with my parents.

      Some woman, obviously not able to contain her “patriotism”, yelled “LOVE IT OR LEAVE IT!” – I silently wished some stray sparks would set her on fire. Like just a little bit.

  10. Why do people continue thinking that we should get to vote on peoples basic rights? This isn’t a decision that should be left up to popular opinion.

    Let’s try this:

    We vote every year as a state on whether you have a right to live. Sound good?

    How about this, bipolar people sometimes do some crazy things when their medications get out of whack…which will eventually happy. Let’s vote them into two camps, one for the males and one for females. Let’s stop the spread of bipolar by eliminating their ability to breed.

    Babies, we have too many…let’s vote on whether or not our neighbors have the right to have their children.

    How can any of these ever be right?

    Voting on basic rights is offensive, disgusting, and morally repugnant.

    1 Timothy 4:
    1 The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. 2 Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron. 3 They forbid people to marry and order them to abstain from certain foods, which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and who know the truth. 4 For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, 5 because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer.

    How about some more scripture:

    Gods law: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

    Gods law: Love your neighbor as yourself.

    Gods law: Judge not lest ye be judged.


  11. After being forced into an extremely Christian based boarding school as a teen people like Pat make me want to curl up in a ball and puke until I pass out. But then again they would just consider that as being slain in the spirit.

  12. Every time I see Pat Robinson’s name in print, I mistake it for Robert Pattinson and think ‘why is anybody listening to the opinion of an undead disco ball?’

    On second thought, I’m not sure I can really call that a mistake.

    • Hahaha +1
      I also thought that i was reading the name of robert pattinson. I had to reread

  13. Religion is old and so is the conservative christian right’s argument in defense of marriage.

  14. Though I do not condone the infringement of a persons right to practice and preach as they wish. Church and state should be separated, and that argument for whatever reason isn’t holding up on a national level.

    • Same-sex marriage isn’t infringing on anyone’s religious rights, though, that’s the thing. Legalizing same-sex marriage doesn’t force churches who disagree with it to perform those marriages. Divorce has been legal for ages, and yet plenty of Catholic churches refuse to marry people who were previously married. Any church that tries to act like this will infringe on their right to decide who to marry is being deliberately misleading.

  15. I am loving this comment thread so much right now, I want to gay marry it. It made me lol at least 4 times.

  16. “Reportedly, Brian Brown of NOM sat in the galley openly weeping with sadness when the 33 to 29 vote was announced.”

    He what? He did what?

    Fuck you sideways with a microwave you nobhead. Wanker.

    As for the Catholic Church, an organization that has shielded child molesters from justice is so far beneath the lgbtq community, even an attempt on their behalf to pass judgement on us is fucking laughable.


    That’s all.

    • 1. I ALWAYS, without fail, want to say “OM NOM NOM” whenever I see their acronym. I feel like disestablishing their establishment, like a cookie.

      2. Can I use that line (“Fuck you sideways with a microwave, you nobhead”?)

      • I can’t believe they didn’t run their name by someone. Anyone. Anywhere. Even remotely familiar with the internet. Or not. An episode of Sesame Street with the cookie monster would’ve sufficed.

        And you should, as often as you like. I think using it releases endorphins.

      • My girlfriend always says “OM NOM NOM” whenever that organization comes up in our conversations.

        Always. And then I start singing “C is for Cookie” and we giggle. Even in public.

  17. I’m 78% sure Pat Robertson is the Antichrist. (The other 22% says it’s Maggie Gallagher.)

    • They can both be antichrists. I remember something about there being lots of little antichrists and then there was one big bad Antichrist (quite possibly the Pope)

      • Like level bosses and the one final boss in a marriage equality videogame. If this shit is MMO, we should all find a server and team up and overpower them with gayness.

  18. Christine Spencer, you’ve made me respect the Bible for the first time since I left Catholic school oh-so-many years ago. I always wished there was something in there worth knowing about, and you’ve helped me find it. I think my parents owe you $40,000.

  19. Dear Autostraddlers-
    I am tearing up literally. I’m from Toronto, and despite having things legally on my side as a gay woman sice I was young, we have a hyper-conservative federal, municipal, and (potentially soon to be) provincial government. Rob Ford is giving poor excuses to not participate in Pride, and the ” Harper Government” was too close to dicreetly criminilizing abortion a few years back.
    Despite Canada takin 10 steps back, I am extreemely grateful to see America moving forward into humanity and wish you all amazing weddings!
    This whole notion has had me crying a little every-time I’ve been seeing a queer related article in the past few months.

    • Dear Autostraddle,
      my bad, the above was a verrry verry drunk post. Which could prob explain the tears.

      • Don’t be ashamed! I’m from Sweden, studying in the UK, and I read the first article after the win like four times and EVERY TIME I started to cry from happiness, while stone-cold sober.

        My god, it’s starting up right now. The waterworks, they won’t be denied. It’s like my body is all “MAKE RAINBOWS WITH YOUR TEARS OF JOY!”

  20. gee pat, that there what you said could not have been more uneducated…the worst part is that people believe the shit he’s saying too…for the life of me i can’t fully grasp how, in spite of the murderers, con-artists, etc. (and worst of all *people who divorce!*) that god almighty will flood the world over little ol’ us.

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