Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Jose Peralta's response to "Courtin' Trouble"

Remember that ignorant little piece that Errol Louis penned in the Daily News a couple of weeks ago about gay marriage possibly leading to polygamy and incest?

Assemblyman Jose Peralta (Queens) wasn't very happy about what Louis had to say and sent a response to the Daily News. It never ran, but we have a copy of it:

"Now that the New York State Assembly has passed legislation providing same-sex couples with access to marriage, opponents are trying to scare New Yorkers about what this means by using the worn-out slippery slope argument that this will lead to incest and polygamy. We heard it on the floor of the Assembly during debate on the bill and we heard it in this newspaper just a few days ago.

As a person of color, I have to say that it is disturbing to hear the same ugly and untrue arguments being used today by defenders of the status quo that were used forty years ago when people of different races wanted to marry.

When a mixed race couple went before the U.S. Supreme Court in 1958 to be allowed to marry in the famous Loving v. Virginia case, the voices of doom were saying the same thing. They said this would weaken the family, be bad for kids and be the end of civilization as we know it. They talked about bestiality being next. Never mind that there was no evidence to back any of this up, they still put it out there to scare people.

Our vote on marriage was about nothing more than a vote to allow two adults who are in love and of the same sex to be able to marry. No legislature is compelled to say what was done for one particular set of circumstances must be done for another. We looked at the facts regarding same-sex relationships and deliberated over what would be the best public policy decision to reach. That debate might be very different for a different set of circumstances.

Allowing same-sex couples to marry is about far more than live-and-let-live. There ARE same-sex couples living in New York and they ARE raising children – tens of thousands of them. Extending marriage and the literally 1,324 laws and statutes related to it that are designed to protect those families is not about making these families feel good. It is smart public policy to take an institution that has been used to protect opposite-sex couples and their children and apply it to same-sex couples and their families. The institution I’m talking about is marriage. It provides a healthy and necessary framework for two people to take care of each other and should be extended in this case to same-sex couples.

Slippery slope arguments are never based on fact. They are about hysteria. With this change in marriage, people ask, what other changes will we be forced to face? For better or worse, marriage has always been about change. From polygamy in biblical times -- to consolidation of power and prevention of war in medieval times -- to the inferior status of married women in more modern times -- to the ban of interracial marriage just decades ago -- society has always asked what model of marriage best fits the needs of that time.

The question is now being asked about two people of the same-sex, and I for one have provided my answer on the basis of equality, justice, family protection and good public policy. The restriction on same-sex couples marrying in New York should end. That does not put New York sliding down a slippery slope to anything else. It only answers the question for my gay and lesbian constituents and the gay community across the state."

Jose Peralta
New York State Assembly
39th District


Touché.

1 comment:

david said...

It is so heartening when someone like Assemblymember Perralta comes to our defense. I mean, we get a lot of crap everyday, but when a voice like that stands up for us even only once in a while, gee... it feels good. Things are changing people; and to make that change happen faster, we should all try to make our straight friends and relatives more like Mr. Perralta.