"As a Catholic, I was raised to believe that marriage is between a man and a woman. I am not here, however, as a senator who is just Catholic. I am also here with a background as an attorney, through which I look at things and I apply reason. [...] I cannot legally come up with an argument against same-sex marriage. Who am I to say that someone does not have the same rights that I have with my wife, who I love, or to have the 1300+ rights that I share with her? [...] I cannot deny a person, a human being, a taxpayer, a worker, the people of my district and across this state -- the state of New York -- and those people who make this state the great state that it is, the same rights that I have have with my wife." -- New York State Senator Mark J. Grisanti (R, 60th district), just before the vote in the state senate on same-sex marriage, 2011-06-24
Since I pulled that quote together from three different spots in the speech, here's the whole thing:
As you may know, prior to me coming here it's only been about six months, and the issue of same-sex marriage was never really a strong topic of discussion among family and friends; I simply opposed it in the Catholic sense of my upbringing. And I have stated that I have a problem with the term 'marriage'. But at the same time, I also said I have a problem with the rights that are involved that are being overlooked. I have never in the past four months researched an issue or met with so many people and groups on a single issue such as this. I have struggled with this immensely, I can tell you that. I have read numerous documents, independent studies, talked with a lot of people on both sides of this issue.
As a Catholic, I was raised to believe that marriage is between a man and a woman. I am not here, however, as a senator who is just Catholic. I am also here with a background as an attorney, through which I look at things and I apply reason. I know that with this decision many people who voted for me will question my integrity a short time ago. I tell you though, that I have studied this issue. For those that know me, they know that I have struggled with it. To those whose support I may lose, please know that in the past what I was telling you was what I believed at that time was the truth. But by doing the research and ultimately doing what I believe to be the right thing, to me shows integrity. I would not respect myself if I didn't do the research, have an open mind, and make a decision -- an informed decision -- based on the information before me. A man can be wiser today than yesterday, but there'll be no respect for that man if he has failed in his duty to do the work.
I cannot legally come up with an argument against same-sex marriage. Who am I to say that someone does not have the same rights that I have with my wife, who I love, or to have the 1300+ rights that I share with her?
But there's another important point here that this bill brings up, and that's its religious protection, because I am Catholic. Under this bill the religious aspects of belief are protected as well as for not-for-profits. There's no mandate that the Catholic church or any other religious organization perform ceremonies or rent halls, there cannot be a civil claim or an action against a church, it protects benevolent organizations such as the Knights of Columbus and many others. And as a lawyer I feel confident that the religious organizations and the others are protected.
We in this state have recognized same-sex couples who are married in other states and are now in New York. I have read studies about civil unions; it's shown that they do not work -- it causes chaos. I believe that this state needs to provide equal rights and protections to all of its residents.`
I struggled with the word 'marriage' as between a man and a woman -- that's how I was raised -- but I also struggle wth the rights that are lacking for same-sex couples, and I've stated this numerous times. I cannot deny that right or an opportunity to someone, nor stand in the way of allowing them to obtain the rights that I have. I'm not going to get into the philosophical arguments, 'cause I've heard them all, but for me the issue boils down to this: I've done the research, and I believe that a person can be wiser today than yesterday; I apologize to those who who feel offended, to those whom I have hurt with the votes that I had six months ago, but I believe that you can be wiser today than yesterday when you do the work.
I cannot deny a person, a human being, a taxpayer, a worker, the people of my district and across this state -- the state of New York -- and those people who make this state the great state that it is, the same rights that I have have with my wife. And I also can't ignore that one of the things that was put into this bill -- that there are protections in this bill for churches and religious organizations -- and I am proud of that because I am fearful that those protections may be lost -- if this bill fails, I believe that next time around, those religious protections won't be there.
I vote in the affirmative, mister President.
(Any typos or transcription errors are mine, because I couldn't find anybody else's transcript already done for me to copy and paste from, when I decided I had to put this in as today's QotD.)