Letters to the editor

Holy park?

To The Editor:

I know that the Dept. of Education has been forced by the courts to rent rooms in schools to religious organizations — which explains why Mosaic Manhattan, a church

with Southern Baptist evangelical roots, gets to meet at I.S./P.S. 89 (news article, Oct. 15 – 21, 2004, “Church in public school”). But can you tell me why they have been allowed to hang two big banners every Sunday from the trees along the bike path at the Hudson River Park? I can’t think of another example where advertising is permitted in the trees of public parks. Infringements on the separation of church and state seem to be everywhere these days, including the trees of the Hudson River Park.

Cheryl Moch

Mayor goes both ways

To The Editor:

Mayor Bloomberg’s claim that he hopes he loses his appeal against civil marriage for same sex couples in the New York Court of Appeals is both patronizing and insulting to the L.G.B.T. community (news article, Dec. 16 – 22, “Mayor promises to testify for gay marriage”).  It is also an argument that defies logic.

In February, Supreme Court Justice Doris Ling-Cohan ruled in favor of same-sex civil marriage.  She based her decision on the plain language of the equal protection clause of the New York State Constitution. Mayor Bloomberg would have us believe he was “forced” to appeal this ruling because his own staff in the Corporation Counsel’s office did not agree with the decision.

In reality, the buck stops with Mayor Bloomberg.  The Corporation Counsel works for him.  Instead of accepting the ruling of Doris Ling-Cohan, and marrying same-sex couples in the City of New York, Mayor Bloomberg appealed the ruling — and his legal papers are filled with right-wing rhetoric that the sanctity of marriage is between a man and a woman.

I was in the audience last February at the Human Rights Campaign dinner when Mayor Bloomberg announced he would appeal Judge Ling-Cohan’s decision.  He claimed that he needed to appeal in order to “spare” the L.G.B.T. community the “pain” of being civilly married now only to have their marriages voided by a higher court later.  It was a shallow and cynical argument — the L.G.B.T. community does not need someone to pat us on the head and spare us pain.  We know full well the pain of discrimination and are committed to eliminating it.

Here is the legal scenario Mayor Bloomberg would have taken if he was actually committed to civil marriage for same-sex couples:  He would not have appealed the ruling of Judge Ling-Cohan and started to issue marriage licenses for same-sex couples.  He would have used his Corporation Counsel’s staff to argue in favor of same-sex civil marriage in the higher courts. He would have also filed amicus briefs in favor of civil marriage in upstate courts that are addressing the same issue.  He did none of these things and is now in the dubious position of arguing against same-sex civil marriage in the state’s highest court.

Mayor Bloomberg’s absurd position that he is in favor of same-sex civil marriage, while his Corporation Counsel argues against it, is nothing but the worst kind of political double talk and sleight of hand that fools no one. Mayor Bloomberg’s actions speak far louder than his words.

Thomas K. Duane

State senator, 29th District

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