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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, March 16, 2012 - Volume 40 Issue 11
'We got burned' on marriage bill passage, New York cardinal says
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'We got burned' on marriage bill passage, New York cardinal says

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York says the Catholic Church failed to stop his state's marriage equality bill because Republican leaders assured him there was no chance it would pass.

'We got burned last year when we were told the redefinition of marriage didn't have much of a chance - and of course it did,' Dolan told the New York Daily News on March 12.

'Our Senate leaders, we highly appreciated them being with us all along,' he explained. 'When they kind of assured us it didn't have much of a chance - not that we let up, but we probably would have been much more vigorous and even more physically present if we knew there was a chance.'

In the week leading up to the vote, activists on both sides filled the state capital, but Catholic leaders were nowhere to be seen. Dolan was across the country at a conference.

After passing the Democratic-majority Assembly, the Marriage Equality Act passed the Republican-controlled New York Senate on June 24 last year, by a margin of 33 to 29, with four Republicans voting Yes. It took effect on July 24.

Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos said at the time that although he personally opposed same-sex marriage, he was letting his members vote their consciences.

While Dolan expressed disappointment in the information he got from Republican leaders, he stopped short of blaming them for the defeat.

'We got a little stung, and it could be as much our fault as anyone else's,' he said.

Dolan told the Daily News that while he and Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo were on different sides of the issue, Cuomo was always upfront about his position. Observers have credited Cuomo with putting together the bipartisan coalition that passed the bill.

'These past six months, we didn't work like we were Democrats and Republicans, we realized we were New Yorkers first,' Cuomo said at the June 24, 2011, signing ceremony in Albany.

'Democracy works when the people speak,' Cuomo added, 'and the people spoke in volumes.'

Dolan told the Daily News he had no hard feelings over the marriage bill, and hoped he and the New York legislature could work together on the church's legislative priorities. This year, the cardinal said, his first priority is blocking Democratic efforts to strengthen reproductive choice in New York.

A bill to do so is expected to fail in the New York Senate. It was a question about this measure that prompted Dolan to complain about being misled on the marriage bill.

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