State of New York Archives: on Civil Rights


Anthony Kennedy: No longer deny gays the profound liberty of marriage

In a long-sought victory for the gay rights movement, the Supreme Court ruled by a 5-to-4 vote that the Constitution guarantees a right to same-sex marriage. "No longer may this liberty be denied," Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote for the majority in the historic decision. "No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were."

The decision, which was the culmination of decades of litigation and activism, set off jubilation and tearful embraces across the country, the first same-sex marriages in several states, and signs of resistance--or at least stalling--in others. It came against the backdrop of fast-moving changes in public opinion, with polls indicating that most Americans now approve of the unions.

The court's four more liberal justices joined Justice Kennedy's majority opinion.

Source: N. Y. Times on 2015 SCOTUS decision on Obergefell v. Hodges Jun 27, 2015

Anthony Kennedy: Living Constitution: apply 14th amendment to gay marriage

Justice Kennedy was the author of all three of the Supreme Court's previous gay rights landmarks. The latest decision came exactly two years after his majority opinion in United States v. Windsor, which struck down a federal law denying benefits to married same-sex couples, and exactly 12 years after his majority opinion in Lawrence v. Texas, which struck down laws making gay sex a crime.

In all of those decisions, Justice Kennedy embraced a vision of a living Constitution, one that evolves with societal changes. "The nature of injustice is that we may not always see it in our own times," he wrote in Obergefell v. Hodges. "The generations that wrote and ratified the Bill of Rights and the Fourteenth Amendment did not presume to know the extent of freedom in all of its dimensions, and so they entrusted to future generations a charter protecting the right of all persons to enjoy liberty as we learn its meaning."

Source: N. Y. Times on 2015 SCOTUS decision on Obergefell v. Hodges Jun 27, 2015

Antonin Scalia: Showy profundities on gay marriage are profoundly incoherent

In dissent [in the Supreme Court ruling which legalizes gay marriage nationwide], Justice Antonin Scalia mocked the soaring language of Justice Kennedy, who has become the nation's most important judicial champion of gay rights: "The opinion is couched in a style that is as pretentious as its content is egotistic," Justice Scalia wrote of his colleague's work. "Of course the opinion's showy profundities are often profoundly incoherent."

Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote for the majority, "No longer may this liberty be denied. No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were."

Source: N. Y. Times on 2015 SCOTUS decision on Obergefell v. Hodges Jun 27, 2015

Antonin Scalia: Everyone in history, until 15 years ago, understood marriage

[Justice Kennedy wrote in legalizing gay marriage], "The generations that wrote and ratified the Bill of Rights and the 14th Amendment did not presume to know the extent of freedom in all of its dimensions, and so they entrusted to future generations a charter protecting the right of all persons to enjoy liberty as we learn its meaning."

This drew a withering response from Justice Scalia, a proponent of reading the original understanding of Constitution. His dissent was joined by Justice Thomas. marriage to one man and one woman is contrary to reason; they know that an institution as old as government itself, and accepted by every nation in history until 15 years ago, cannot possibly be supported by anything other than ignorance or bigotry."

Source: N. Y. Times on 2015 SCOTUS decision on Obergefell v. Hodges Jun 27, 2015

Elena Kagan: Concurred on no longer deny gays the right to marriage

In a long-sought victory for the gay rights movement, the Supreme Court ruled by a 5-to-4 vote that the Constitution guarantees a right to same-sex marriage. "No longer may this liberty be denied," Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote for the majority in the historic decision. "No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were."

The decision, which was the culmination of decades of litigation and activism, set off jubilation and tearful embraces across the country, the first same-sex marriages in several states, and signs of resistance--or at least stalling--in others. It came against the backdrop of fast-moving changes in public opinion, with polls indicating that most Americans now approve of the unions.

Justice Elena Kagan, among the court's four more liberal justices, joined Justice Kennedy's majority opinion.

Source: N. Y. Times on 2015 SCOTUS decision on Obergefell v. Hodges Jun 27, 2015

John Roberts: Constitution says nothing about marriage OR gay marriage

In dissent [in the Supreme Court ruling which legalizes gay marriage nationwide], Chief Justice John Roberts said the Constitution had nothing to say on the subject of same-sex marriage. "If you are among the many Americans--of whatever sexual orientation--who favor expanding same-sex marriage, by all means celebrate today's decision," Chief Justice Roberts wrote. "Celebrate the achievement of a desired goal. Celebrate the opportunity for a new expression of commitment to a partner. Celebrate the availability of new benefits. But do not celebrate the Constitution. It had nothing to do with it."

Roberts said the majority opinion was "an act of will, not legal judgment" in his dissent. "The court invalidates the marriage laws of more than half the states and orders the transformation of a social institution that has formed the basis of human society for millennia, for the Kalahari Bushmen & the Han Chinese, the Carthaginians & the Aztecs," he wrote. "Just who do we think we are?

Source: N. Y. Times on 2015 SCOTUS decision on Obergefell v. Hodges Jun 27, 2015

Ruth Bader Ginsburg: Concurred on no longer deny gays the right to marriage

In a long-sought victory for the gay rights movement, the Supreme Court ruled by a 5-to-4 vote that the Constitution guarantees a right to same-sex marriage. "No longer may this liberty be denied," Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote for the majority in the historic decision. "No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were."

The decision, which was the culmination of decades of litigation and activism, set off jubilation and tearful embraces across the country, the first same-sex marriages in several states, and signs of resistance--or at least stalling--in others. It came against the backdrop of fast-moving changes in public opinion, with polls indicating that most Americans now approve of the unions.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, among the court's four more liberal justices, joined Justice Kennedy's majority opinion.

Source: N. Y. Times on 2015 SCOTUS decision on Obergefell v. Hodges Jun 27, 2015

Sonia Sotomayor: Concurred on no longer deny gays the right to marriage

In a long-sought victory for the gay rights movement, the Supreme Court ruled by a 5-to-4 vote that the Constitution guarantees a right to same-sex marriage. "No longer may this liberty be denied," Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote for the majority in the historic decision. "No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were."

The decision, which was the culmination of decades of litigation and activism, set off jubilation and tearful embraces across the country, the first same-sex marriages in several states, and signs of resistance--or at least stalling--in others. It came against the backdrop of fast-moving changes in public opinion, with polls indicating that most Americans now approve of the unions.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor, among the court's four more liberal justices, joined Justice Kennedy's majority opinion.

Source: N. Y. Times on 2015 SCOTUS decision on Obergefell v. Hodges Jun 27, 2015

Stephen Breyer: Concurred on no longer deny gays the right to marriage

In a long-sought victory for the gay rights movement, the Supreme Court ruled by a 5-to-4 vote that the Constitution guarantees a right to same-sex marriage. "No longer may this liberty be denied," Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote for the majority in the historic decision. "No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were."

The decision, which was the culmination of decades of litigation and activism, set off jubilation and tearful embraces across the country, the first same-sex marriages in several states, and signs of resistance--or at least stalling--in others. It came against the backdrop of fast-moving changes in public opinion, with polls indicating that most Americans now approve of the unions.

Justice Stephen Breyer, among the court's four more liberal justices, joined Justice Kennedy's majority opinion.

Source: N. Y. Times on 2015 SCOTUS decision on Obergefell v. Hodges Jun 27, 2015

Rick Perry: Would attend same-sex marriage of a family member

Perry opposes same-sex marriage, but said recently that he "probably would" attend a same-sex marriage of a family member.
Source: N. Y. Times 2015 coverage of 2016 presidential hopefuls Jun 4, 2015

Bobby Jindal: Institution of marriage existed long before our laws existed

Rick Santorum said he would never attend a same-sex wedding. Marco Rubio said he might attend one. Scott Walker actually went to a same-sex wedding reception, not to be confused with an actual same-sex wedding ceremony. Ted Cruz said he is firmly opposed to gay marriage, but would be comfortable if his daughter were gay.

The more conservative members of this Republican field--among them Sen. Cruz; Sen. Santorum; Gov. Bobby Jindal; and Gov. Mike Huckabee--have aggressively emphasized their opposition to same-sex marriage. For them, the issue can be used to differentiate themselves not just from Democrats but from mainstream Republicans, like Jeb Bush, who is trying to appeal to a broader audience with an eye to the general election.

Jindal was critical of Republican lawmakers in Indiana and Arkansas who backed down on laws that proponents say protect religious freedom, while Rubio declared that "the institution of marriage as one man and one woman existed long before our laws existed."

Source: N. Y. Times on 2015 Iowa Faith & Freedom Coalition summit Apr 26, 2015

Rick Santorum: I would never attend a same-sex wedding

Rick Santorum said he would never attend a same-sex wedding. Marco Rubio said he might attend one. Scott Walker actually went to a same-sex wedding reception, not to be confused with an actual same-sex wedding ceremony. Ted Cruz said he is firmly opposed to gay marriage, but would be comfortable if his daughter were gay.

The more conservative members of this Republican field--among them Cruz; Santorum; and Bobby Jindal--have aggressively emphasized their opposition to same-sex marriage. For them, the issue can be used to differentiate themselves not just from Democrats but from mainstream Republicans, like Jeb Bush, who is trying to appeal to a broader audience with an eye to the general election.

Support for same-sex marriage is increasing among Republican voters, but it is still a minority view. That creates a split between conservative Republicans looking to win a primary, and candidates seeking to win a primary without carrying too much baggage into a general election.

Source: N. Y. Times on 2015 Iowa Faith & Freedom Coalition summit Apr 26, 2015

Ted Cruz: Pray against a court decision legalizing same-sex marriage

Rick Santorum said he would never attend a same-sex wedding. Marco Rubio said he might attend one. Scott Walker actually went to a same-sex wedding reception, not to be confused with an actual same-sex wedding ceremony. Ted Cruz said he is firmly opposed to gay marriage, but would be comfortable if his daughter were gay.

The more conservative members of this Republican field--among them Sen. Cruz; Sen. Santorum; Gov. Bobby Jindal; and Gov. Mike Huckabee--have aggressively emphasized their opposition to same-sex marriage. For them, the issue can be used to differentiate themselves not just from Democrats but from mainstream Republicans, like Jeb Bush, who is trying to appeal to a broader audience with an eye to the general election.

Cruz said advocates of traditional marriage should "fall to our knees and pray" against a court decision legalizing same-sex marriage.

Source: N. Y. Times on 2015 Iowa Faith & Freedom Coalition summit Apr 26, 2015

Scott Walker: 2013: same-sex marriage issue over; 2015: issue not settled

The governor is stressing a much harder line on social issues than he did just a few months ago, when he faced a robust challenge from a well-funded Democratic woman in his run for re-election as governor. The shift in emphasis and tone is noticeable on same-sex marriage, an issue of intense interest to social conservatives.

In 2013, Walker argued that Republicans, to win back the White House, must not become distracted from a focus on fiscal issues. Asked about same-sex marriage, he said, "I don't talk about it at all."

Last fall, after the Supreme Court rejected his appeal to preserve Wisconsin's ban on same-sex marriage, Walker conceded, "For us, it's over in Wisconsin." During the meeting with Iowa Christian conservative leaders last month, when the same issue arose, he struck a different posture. One attendee reported that Walker said the issue is not settled.

Source: N. Y. Times, "Woo Christian conservatives," by J. Martin Feb 23, 2015

Jeb Bush: Don't-ask-don't-tell ok if it doesn't affect policy

Bush was less of a hard-liner when a gay Floridian hoping to win a job in Bush's administration gently asked if his sexual orientation would present a problem.

"On the other stuff, don't ask, don't tell is fine with me," Bush responded, appropriating the terminology Pres. Clinton used regarding gays in the military. "What you do in your private life is your business. If it crosses over into the public policy realm, then that is another matter. If you are comfortable with that, then we can proceed."

Source: N. Y. Times 2014 coverage of 2016 presidential hopefuls Dec 24, 2014

John Katko: Same-sex marriage has been decided, so no opinion

Q: Do you support same-sex marriage?

A: Regardless of my personal views, this is ultimately a state issue that has already been decided.

Source: VoteSmart 2014 N. Y. Congressional Political Courage Test Aug 30, 2014

Chris McDaniel: As host of Right Side Radio, railed against hip-hop culture

As host of "Right Side Radio" in the mid-2000s, McDaniel railed against hip-hop culture, referred to Mexican "mamacitas," poked fun at gay people, and derided a female candidate who he said was "basically using her boobies" to win. Critics, seizing on those comments--and his appearance last June before the Sons of Confederate Veterans group--have attacked him as a racist, a sexist and antigay. His political speeches, though more subtle, evoke echoes of an earlier era, when 1960s segregationists whipped up fears of outsiders, some scholars say.

"Millions in this country feel like strangers in this land--you recognize that, don't you?" he told an audience of farmers in Covington County. "An older America passes away, a new America rises to take its place. We recoil from that culture. It's foreign to us. It's offensive to us."

[His supporters] see a candidate who grew up steeped in his Baptist faith, surrounded--and influenced by--the history and traditions of the rural South.

Source: N. Y. Times on 2014 Mississippi Senate race Jun 13, 2014

Rob Astorino: People from the Bronx drive up costs in Westchester

Democrats in Westchester County are knocking GOP gubernatorial hopeful Rob Astorino for remarks he made about illegal immigrants driving up the cost of services. Astorino, in a 2009 appearance on News 12 in Westchester, suggested undocumented immigrants and "people who are moving in from the Bronx" are driving up the cost of county services.

The video was distributed by the "Astorino Truth Squad"--a group who have been serving as a rapid response team. For now, the Democrats on the local level are working as surrogates as Gov. Andrew Cuomo has stayed largely above the politically fray at least publicly.

Cuomo earlier teased Republicans for a potential primary: "It's unfortunate that Mr. Astorino has chosen to vilify the hard-working residents of the Bronx and speak of them as something less than their neighbors in Westchester. I have found that the best path to progress is by celebrating diversity, not insulting one another or pitting New Yorkers against one other."

Source: NY State of Politics blog on 2014 N. Y. gubernatorial race Mar 1, 2014

Wendy Long: The Democrats cooked up this whole phony "war on women"

The Post today endorses the candidacy of Wendy Long, a lawyer, former congressional aide and longtime conservative activist, for the GOP nod. She has a long record of involvement on the national level and on national issues. Long, as she herself notes, is better positioned to fight "this whole phony war-on-women thing that the Democrats are cooking up."
Source: Press Release of 2012 N. Y. Senate debate Jun 21, 2012

Wendy Long: Would never attend a same-sex marriage ceremony

At the Republican debate sponsored by Time Warner Cable's Capital Tonight Show and NY1, Wendy Long said she doesn't feel 'that there are any conservative activists on the current Supreme Court'. She also said she would never attend a same-sex marriage ceremony, despite being a staunch 'women's rights activist'.
Source: PR Newswire coverage of 2012 N. Y. Senate debate Jun 18, 2012

Bob Turner: The ship has sailed on gay marriage; focus elsewhere

Over all, the debate showcased far more policy similarities than differences--all three candidates said they supported hydraulic fracturing, for instance. But they tussled ever so slightly even in areas where they agreed, like same-sex marriage.

Maragos criticized Wendy Long for not publicly advocating the repeal of same-sex marriage in New York. Long said that was not her role, given that she was not a state lawmaker, but Maragos pressed further, saying it was her duty, since she had the backing of the State Conservative Party--a distinction that Long has eagerly publicized.

Turner was not eager to discuss the subject. "This ship has sailed in New York," he said. "I want to keep the focus on jobs and the economy. The Gillibrand record, the Obama record--that's what this is going to be about."

In a lightning round of questions, Long said she would refuse to attend a same-sex wedding on principle.

Source: New York Times on 2012 N. Y. Senate debates Jun 17, 2012

George Maragos: Publicly advocate the repeal of same-sex marriage

Over all, the debate showcased far more policy similarities than differences--all three candidates said they supported hydraulic fracturing, for instance. But they tussled ever so slightly even in areas where they agreed, like same-sex marriage.

Maragos criticized Wendy Long for not publicly advocating the repeal of same-sex marriage in New York. Long said that was not her role, given that she was not a state lawmaker, but Maragos pressed further, saying it was her duty, since she had the backing of the State Conservative Party--a distinction that Long has eagerly publicized.

Turner was not eager to discuss the subject. "This ship has sailed in New York," he said. "I want to keep the focus on jobs and the economy. The Gillibrand record, the Obama record--that's what this is going to be about."

In a lightning round of questions, Long said she would refuse to attend a same-sex wedding on principle.

Source: New York Times on 2012 N. Y. Senate debates Jun 17, 2012

Andrew Cuomo: Supports same-sex marriage and same rights of marriage

Friday, June 24, 2011 marked a momentous day in the history of our great State, with the passage of the Marriage Equality Act, granting same-sex couples the freedom to marry under the law, and the hundreds of accompanying rights, benefits, and protections that have previously been limited to married couples of the opposite sex.
Source: N. Y. 2011 gubernatorial press release "Marriage Equality" Jul 24, 2011

David Paterson: Increased MWBE state contract participation from 4% to 24%

New York State's economic development program has to make sure that is covers all corners of our boundaries. And it is known historically that women- and minority-owned businesses have not had the opportunities or the resources from the State to flourish

To be specific, women--who are 51% of the population and were 29% of the firms that were approved in advance--got 2.6% of the contracts. But it gets worse. Hispanic Americans--8.5% of the threshold vendors, meaning that they had capital, they had been certified, they passed all the tests--received 0.74%, 3/4 of 1%, of the contracts.

I knew to start a Task Force on Minority and Women Business in June 2008. Here are the results. We have quadrupled the MWBE participation. The minority firms that are investment banking and involve the issuance of debt went from 4.2% MWB in 2007 to where they stand now--23.9%. Since I have taken office, minority and women firms have yielded $162 million of profit over where they were at that particular time.

Source: N. Y. 2010 State of the State Address Jan 6, 2010

Hakeem Jeffries: Supports affirmative action in state hiring & college

Q: Should the state government consider race and gender in state government contracting and hiring decisions?

A: Yes.

Q: Do you support affirmative action in public college admissions?

A: Yes.

Q: Should New York continue affirmative action programs?

A: Yes.

Source: N. Y. Congressional 2008 Political Courage Test Nov 1, 2008

Howard Mills: Reduce regulations on private sector

Source: 2000 N. Y. National Political Awareness Test Jul 2, 2000

Howard Mills: Include sexual orientation in discrimination & hate crimes

Q: Should New York include sexual orientation in its anti-discrimination laws?

A: Yes.

Q: Require that crimes based on gender, sexual orientation, or disability be prosecuted as hate crimes?

A: Yes.

Source: 2000 N. Y. National Political Awareness Test Jul 2, 2000

Howard Mills: Restrict marriage to one man and one woman

Q: Should New York restrict marriage to a relationship only between a man and a woman?

A: Yes.

Source: 2000 N. Y. National Political Awareness Test Jul 2, 2000

  • The above quotations are from State of New York Politicians: Archives.
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2016 Presidential contenders on Civil Rights:
  Republicans:
Gov.Jeb Bush(FL)
Dr.Ben Carson(MD)
Gov.Chris Christie(NJ)
Sen.Ted Cruz(TX)
Carly Fiorina(CA)
Gov.Jim Gilmore(VA)
Sen.Lindsey Graham(SC)
Gov.Mike Huckabee(AR)
Gov.Bobby Jindal(LA)
Gov.John Kasich(OH)
Gov.Sarah Palin(AK)
Gov.George Pataki(NY)
Sen.Rand Paul(KY)
Gov.Rick Perry(TX)
Sen.Rob Portman(OH)
Sen.Marco Rubio(FL)
Sen.Rick Santorum(PA)
Donald Trump(NY)
Gov.Scott Walker(WI)
Democrats:
Gov.Lincoln Chafee(RI)
Secy.Hillary Clinton(NY)
V.P.Joe Biden(DE)
Gov.Martin O`Malley(MD)
Sen.Bernie Sanders(VT)
Sen.Elizabeth Warren(MA)
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Robert Steele(L-NY)
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Page last updated: Dec 11, 2015