WASHINGTON, December 2, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A New York state judge has allowed a lawsuit that could overturn the state’s homosexual “marriage” law to move forward.
Acting State Supreme Court Justice Robert Wiggins ruled that the courts could decide whether Governor Andrew Cuomo violated a law requiring his meetings with Republicans in the state senate to be open to the public.
“There is no demonstration that the public welfare on this issue required secrecy,” Justice Wiggins wrote in his November 18 decision.
Cuomo secretly met with weary Republicans in the Governor’s Mansion in Albany on June 24, as they prepared to vote on the “Marriage Equality Act.” They locked out the public and press, and denied registered lobbyists access to politicians.
The plaintiffs contend that “at least two meetings” violate the 1976 New York Open Meetings Law, which requires that “public business be performed in an open and public manner.”
“We are contending that when the 32 Republicans met with Governor Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Michael Bloomberg and perhaps some others, it was a flagrant disregard for the intention of the law,” Rev. Jason J. McGuire told LifeSiteNews.com. Rev. McGuire is executive director of New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms (NYCF), which filed the lawsuit.
McGuire told LifeSiteNews.com that as he attempted to attend one of the meetings, he found the sergeants-at-arms blocking the hallways to the Republicans’ chambers. “They said it was an issue of ‘safety and security,’” McGuire said, but “the only hallways blocked were Republican hallways.”
The act capped off a series of closed doors conferences that homosexual “marriage” supporters held to convince the GOP-controlled senate to schedule a vote on the bill. In May, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Christine Quinn, the speaker of the New York City council and a lesbian, lobbied Republican senators to support the act. Bloomberg held another meeting with Republicans on June 16.
While state law allows one-party meetings to occur in secret, Bloomberg is a registered independent, and Cuomo and Quinn are registered Democrats.
McGuire told LifeSiteNews.com, “In the new year, we’ll have an opportunity to present our argument” on the merits of the law. If a judge agrees, the same-sex “marriage” law could be overturned. “We’ve asked for nullification and that’s ultimately where this could lead,” he said.
Rena Lindevaldsen of Liberty Counsel, which is representing NYCF, says the lawsuit is acting “as a check on an out-of-control political process that was willing to pass a bill regardless of how many laws and rules it violated.”
In his decision, while allowing the lawsuit to move forward, Justice Wiggins had reluctantly dismissed some of the claims of the plaintiffs.
One of these related to New York law that requires pending legislation to be made public for three days before passage. On June 24, Governor Cuomo overridden that law by issuing a “message of necessity” to pass the bill. Wiggins ruled that since the senate accepted the measure, he lacked jurisdiction to rule on it. But the judge wrote that Cuomo’s “disregard for the statute seems evident.”
The plaintiffs also charged politicians with establishing an implied quid pro quo, exchanging votes for campaign cash. They state that in his June 16 meeting with Republicans, Mayor Bloomberg offered to financially support any Republican who backed the marriage bill and to help the opponent of anyone who opposed it. Four Republican state senators promptly changed their votes: James Alesi, Mark Grisanti, Roy McDonald, and Stephen Saland.
The “Marriage Equality Act” subsequently passed after the Assembly approved it by a vote of 80-63, and the Republican-controlled state senate voted to pass it 33-29. The law took effect on July 24. The next day, New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms filed the lawsuit.
Shortly after the vote, Bloomberg contributed the maximum amount allowed by law, $10,300, to all four Republican senators who changed their vote in favor of the law. Bloomberg and powerful homosexual activist Tim Gill threw a $1.2 million fundraiser for the four in October. They also donated a hefty sum to the Republican Senate campaign committee for agreeing to hold the vote.
But while the four Republicans have Bloomberg’s support, they have also made some determined enemies with their votes. Shaun Marie, executive director of the Conservative Party of New York State, told LifeSiteNews.com the state party “will not endorse anybody” that voted for the bill and that the party is “actively recruiting” candidates to run against the wayward Republicans in 2012.
Any effort to overturn the law can’t come too soon for Christians in the state concerned that their religious liberty is already being encroached upon since the bill passed. At least four New York clerks have either resigned rather than sign marriage licenses for homosexual couples, or are fighting heavy pressure to sign the licenses against their consciences.
McGuire fears churches may soon come under fire for abiding by their traditional stance on moral and ethical issues. He said the law’s “religious liberty” clause is “extremely weak.”
McGuire plans to present his case in state court in 2012. Whatever the decision, he anticipates a long legal battle.