Jewish World Review /July 1, 1998 / 7 Tamuz, 5758

Don Feder

Don Feder New York blesses domestic partnerships

LAST WEEK, the New York City Council decided that the location of a baseball stadium was so controversial that it required a popular vote, but elevating fornication and sodomy to the status of marriage is inconsequential.

By a vote of 39 to 7, the council approved the so-called domestic partnership ordinance, which grants unmarried couples (homosexual and heterosexual) an array of privileges heretofore reserved for a man and woman joined in matrimony.

Rudolph Giuliani,
gay-rights champion?
On the day of the vote, a group of Hasidic rabbis called down the wrath of heaven on supporters of what they termed "an abomination." There was talk of a biblical city consumed by fire, probably in Northern California.

New York's archbishop, John Cardinal O'Connor, said the measure ran "contrary to natural moral law ... by virtually legislating that marriage does not matter."

At a public hearing, Rev. Ruben Diaz, president of the New York Hispanic Clergy Organization, led a walkout of opponents, complaining that while 150 of the 200 present opposed the bill, testimony was stacked four to one in its favor.

Rabbi William Her of Jews for Morality urged the council to put domestic partnerships to a vote of the people. It refused, but approved a referendum on relocating Yankee Stadium.

Given the opportunity, even Gothamites would have rejected the ordinance. Since November 1997, gay rights laws have lost in statewide votes in Maine and Washington state. Neither is a bastion of far-right fundamentalism.

The game is to forestall the exercise of popular sovereignty. While activists have yet to persuade the public on any point of their agenda, politicians nestle snugly in their pockets.

Domestic partnership laws are defacto gay marriage. True, cohabiting heterosexuals benefit, as well. But the push comes entirely from gays.

Calling a mule a horse doesn't alter its nature. Man and woman, bound by faith and commitment, make a partnership for domesticity. Nothing else does.

Life does not come from homosexual unions. Despite the novelty (and menace) of gay adoption, most children will continue to be raised by intact families. Historically, society understood that this arrangement is indispensable and did what it could to encourage marriage.

If Ellen DeGeneres and Anne Heche are afforded legal recognition for their relationship, how does that threaten your marriage? Domestic partnership laws are an incremental step. Following the New York vote, gay City Councilman Tom Duane declared: "We need to go on and fight for the right of marriage, state (domestic partnership) legislation and tax protection for domestic partners, as well."

The movement also wants to lower the age of consent (Britain recently lowered the legal age for homosexual relations to 16) and institute public-school indoctrination.

The 1993 gay-rights march demanded, "Federal encouragement and support for sex-education courses, prepared and taught by gay women and men, presenting homosexuality as a valid, healthy preference and lifestyle, as a viable alternative to heterosexuality."

Does changing the law so a 30-year-old man can legally approach your 16-year-old son for sex threaten your family? How about your children being instructed about the validity of homosexuality and invited to give it a try?

While most Americans take the Trent Lott view (homosexuality is sinful), politicians pander shamelessly. The gay lobby is well-organized and well-heeled -- ready to reward its friends with money and votes.

The majority may be repulsed by homosexuality, but it lacks the will to punish compliant politicians. This process is aided by the media, which have convinced ordinary people that their gut reaction is a dark prejudice they should be ashamed to discuss in polite company, let alone act upon politically.

As a concession to Catholic sensibilities, in Sunday's New York Gay Pride Parade, Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, sponsor of the domestic-partnership bill, didn't join the march until it passed St. Patrick's Cathedral. In years past, marchers (many naked) made obscene gestures or simulated sex when they arrived at the church.

There is no word on whether his honor promenaded in proximity to what Monday's New York Post described as "lesbian bikers, drag queens in full regalia and an S&M contingent" -- who can now have their liaisons affirmed by the city of New York.


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©1998, Boston Herald; distributed by Creators Syndicate, Inc.