Just one day after New York’s same-sex marriage law went into effect a group of religious conservatives filed on Monday a lawsuit to have the Marriage Equality Act struck down.
The suit, filed by group New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms and led by Reverend Jason J. McGuire, challenges that lawmakers ignored proper procedure in bringing the same-sex marriage bill to a senate floor vote, and that lawmakers took campaign contributions from Mayor Bloomberg in exchange for their vote, as well as a whole host of other accusations.
The group also claims, among other things, that Gov. Cuomo and the Senate ignored the constitutionally mandated three-day waiting period before a bill can be acted upon and that lawmakers approved the legislation in exchange for campaign contributions from Bloomberg and other high profile “Wall Street financiers.”
“It is unfortunate that state senators chose to protect their personal interests, rather than the people they were elected to represent. Some of the players may have changed, but it looks like same old Albany game. It is time the curtain be pulled back and the disinfecting light of good government shine upon the Cuomo Administration and our State Legislature,” McGuire said in a press release.
It didn’t take long to ascertain that the suit is being supported by an out-of-state group with a very particular agenda.
The lawsuit — though brought in the name of New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms, Jason McGuire, Duane Motley and Nathaniel Leiter — is lawyered by Liberty Counsel attorney Rena Lindevaldsen.
Lindevaldsen has a long history of bringing such cases. According to her Liberty University School of Law biography, “She filed the first lawsuit to enjoin San Francisco’s efforts to ‘marry’ same-sex couples, and obtained two orders enjoining public officials in New York from officiating same-sex unions. She successfully challenged New York City’s decision to publicly fund a high school for homosexual students and a Maryland school board’s decision to implement sex education curriculum that presented materials hostile to conservative, religious beliefs. In addition to her efforts to protect children and families, she regularly provided representation to Child Evangelism Fellowship in its efforts to gain access to public schools for after-school Good News Clubs.”
Indeed, throughout the legal complaint same-sex marriage is continually referred to as “marriage” complete with quotation marks, a sneer at marriage equality that is commonplace on certain religious conservative websites. It is, however, curious to find such a show of disdain in a legal complaint as it would appear to demonstrate a bias that one might want to avoid when challenging a law that centers on civil rights.
The complaint, as it goes, has been slammed by N.Y. Gov. Andrew Cuomo whose spokesman Josh Vlasto went as far to say, “The plaintiffs lack a basic understanding of the laws of the state of New York. The suit is without merit.”
Possibly in anticipation of this lawsuit, Senator Ruban Diaz Sr., the only Democrat to vote against the same-sex marriage legislation, pledged that he will personally see to it that the hundreds of same-sex marriages carried out since Sunday are annulled, telling a sizable crowed at the National Organization for Marriage’s loftily titled “Let the People Vote” rally in Manhattan on Sunday that Mayor Bloomberg had broken the law (he didn’t provide details on how) and saying, “We’re going to show them next week that everything they did today is criminal and it’s wrong. Today we start the battle! Today we start the war!”
As such, even if this lawsuit falls at the first hurdle it would seem reasonable to expect more challenges to come.