Ed Koch Commentary: Fundamental Fairness and Same-Sex Marriage
believe that same-sex marriage will be approved by a majority of the fifty
states in the Union
Those who are opposed to same-sex marriage on religious grounds should know that no religious institution is now being coerced or will in the future be forced to perform same-sex weddings. The decision of whether to sanctify same-sex marriages is totally up to the religious leaders. It is a near certainty that the Catholic Church and Orthodox synagogues will continue to refuse to officiate at same-sex weddings, while some Protestant churches and reform and conservative synagogues will continue to be open to the practice.
the right of all religions to determine their own responses. But the
issue here is not religious, but civil marriage. As a matter of
fundamental fairness, civil marriage must be made available for all consenting
adults, irrespective of sexual orientation. And it will happen, more
quickly than the public thinks. In the United
next state in all probability to legislatively approve same-sex marriage is New
Efforts are now underway to bring the issue of same-sex marriage to a vote in
both Houses in Albany
When the New York City Council in 1986 was faced with a vote on a bill that I introduced that barred sexual orientation discrimination in the private sector in employment, housing and education, I as Mayor, having already barred such discrimination by the city government by executive order in 1978, called into my office those members of the City Council, Democrat and Republican, who were wavering on the issue. I told them that if their primary opponents or general election opponents used their “yea” vote on the issue against them, I would support them irrespective of their party affiliation and campaign for them.
My suggestion is that the Governor do the same. Because of the Governor’s low popularity, there should also be an effort to assemble a broad, bi-partisan coalition of private and distinguished citizens that would make the same commitment.
very next political objective of civil rights advocates should be to achieve in
every state that which exists now in New York
Simultaneously, at the federal level, an effort should be made to end President Clinton’s alleged compromise of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” which, regrettably, caused even more gays and lesbians than before the law was adopted to be discharged from the U.S. armed forces. Men and women should be able to serve in the armed forces without regard to their sexual orientation and without any requirement that they conceal it. Of the 28 nations that participate militarily in NATO, more than 20 permit lesbians, gays or bisexuals to serve openly. The common sense rule that should apply with respect to military service is that anyone forcing his or her attentions on another individual, or engaging in lewd conduct should be subject to discipline and appropriately punished.
The Honorable Edward Irving Koch served New York City as its 105th Mayor from 1978 to 1989.