"Not just Catholic": meet one NY pol who voted for gay marriage

He spoke openly about wrestling with his religious convictions before the vote on Friday.

And now USA TODAY has more:

New York Catholic leadership vociferously opposed legalizing gay marriage in the state. But when it passed the state senate Friday night to become law, it was with the help of a yes vote from a Catholic senator, Mark Grisanti.

WBFO’s coverage reports:

Grisanti said even though, as a Catholic, he was raised to believe marriage is between a man and woman, he could not:

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 the great state that it is the same rights that I have with my wife.

MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow quoted Grisanti saying as the vote neared:

I’m not here as a senator who is just Catholic. I know that with this decision, many people who voted for me will question my integrity.

And they may question his faith.

Read more.

Meantime, this weekend the newspaper in Buffalo has another look at Grisanti and asks if he’s a hero or a villain.

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26 responses to “"Not just Catholic": meet one NY pol who voted for gay marriage”

  1. If you watch the video, he explains that he struggled against his own inclinations, his own traditions, and probably his own political good until, after “doing the work,” he changed his mind because he was also a lawyer committed to reason, not JUST his own beliefs. People can still argue that he made the wrong decision, but he certainly impressed me as sincere, and much more thoughtful and diligent than the New York bishops… (especially Brooklyn’s .)

  2. As a victim of such misguided people, I’m saddened that someone would dismiss the man for allowing this atrocity to occur in a nation I once supported with my life. The much bigger picture points to national security in my views. Allowing this is an open door to other perverted views of “marriage”. Pandora’s box has been opened.

  3. With this attempt. Off a fallen to reason out his severe sin against the lord one can only remember with sadest feelings the word, once spoken in another crisis of marriage: “The kings good servant but god’s first”
    The deadlly sin of these kind of politicians is worst, as they don’t give their conscience the decission but set the voice of the voter above the voice of god. That is against the first commandment and i call idolatry. Let us pray for the lost souls that made themselves a tool of the evil within the american culture of death. May have god mercy on them.

  4. And with this vote, Grisanti betrayed all of his fellow Catholics, because now the government of New York considers every Catholic who follows the Church’s teachings about marriage such a bigot that special exemptions have to be carved out in the law to permit religious expression. And those exemptions will quickly be legislated out of existence amid the howls of the gay rights movement which desperately wants all religious opposition to the grave moral evil of homosexual sex recast in the public eye as “bigotry” which ought to be eradicated.

    At least Richard Rich got Wales. What did Grisanti get for his cowardice and treachery? To sell out one’s moral convictions for Wales may be stupid, but to sell out one’s moral convictions to make it easier for a Democrat to get one’s seat in the next election is just cheap.

  5. What is very telling is that Sen. Grisanti viewed reason as leading to a conclusion opposite to the one which his faith would lead to. Leaving aside the fact that by definition, the faith, correctly understood cannot be opposed to reason, this points to a big failure on the part of supporters of true marriage who opppose same-sex “marriage.” They need to do a much better job of explaining the natural-law basis for marriage being strictly a male-female thing, so that legislators will realize that even prescinding from what the Church teaches and what the Bible says, the very reality of human nature makes same-sex relationships something different from marriage, and that the difference is ample reason for the state not to say they are the same.

    It’s unfortunate that Sen. Grisanti, as a lawyer, could not have figured it out for himself, but it is tragic that the supporters of true marriage did not adequately make the natural law case.

  6. Re: naturgesetz #5

    “it is tragic that the supporters of true marriage did not adequately make the natural law case”

    I agree with you 1,000% ! We all know that Aristotle’s Natural Law was “Christianized” by St. Thomas Aquinas’ teachings but that Thomism has fallen in disrepute in the past two generations.

    From probably the time of Trent but certainly from the time of Vatican I, Roman Catholic Universities had to teach only Thomism and were prohibited from teaching anything else in their Philosophy Departments. In the 1960’s — contemporaneous with Vatican II but likely independent of its influence — that changed dramatically.

    Whether you like it or not, John Paul II’s encyclical “Fides et Ratio” officially did away with that requirement but it was a moot point by that time anyway.

    BTW: you blogger folk who have noted that Sen. Grisanti’s explanation followed “reason” rather than “faith,” it might be very helpful if you downloaded “Fides et Ratio” from the Vatican web site and read it over carefully.

  7. This story is sadly reminiscent of the saga of George Michaels, the once-influential NY legislator who cast the deciding vote to legalize abortion in NY state in 1970 and thereby helped pave the way for Roe v. Wade. Michaels subsequently lost his seat in a largely Catholic district but is still revered as a “profile in courage” by those who think abortion-on-request has been a blessing to America. The Catholic Church, of course, is reviled for the invective it heaped on that supposedly principled lawmaker.

    This guy too is already being cast as a martyr because the bishop of Brooklyn won’t let him speak at grade-school graduations. Sending a stronger message won’t change that narrative, but it might help New Yorkers who still go to church to understand that this vote is comparable in importance to the one that made abortion an everyday occurrence.

  8. John B. #1: Very well said.

    Since in my opinion the right to marry between 2 consenting adults is a legal right, simular to the Civil Rights movement, this Senator did just what he should have done. Congrats to him.

    Good Work, NY.

  9. When he stands before his Creator I hope the good senator explains clearly why he voted the way he did.
    IMO Cuomo is much worse than he.

  10. Ron #8 said “…but it might help New Yorkers who still go to church to understand that this vote is comparable in importance to the one that made abortion an everyday occurrence.” Well there is a little difference in that millions aren’t going to end up dying as a result. One may consider that this law is a poor idea (as I do) however it is not the same as abortion.

  11. I said it was comparable to legalizing abortion because it similarly assaults the natural foundations of civilization. Laws are instructive; they pass along society’s mores to generations yet to come. Legalized abortion says that a new human life is worth only what we think it is worth at a given moment. Gay marriage says that family bonds have no basis other than fleeting attractions. These are the lessons our laws will henceforth teach our children.

  12. To John B,
    Not well said, John b, a politician like any other child of god must follow Christian rules before anything else. We are Catholics first, politicians second. God always comes first. If his constituents don’t like it, they can vote him out; simple as that. The fact he struggled with his decision is moot since he came up with the wrong one anyway. God, Catholicism, Christianity makes it very clear that marriage is reserved for one man and one woman. It was God’s plan for the continuance of the human race; for reproduction. Two men cannot reproduce. Two women cannot reproduce.

    To Pagansister:
    The argument, and I’ve heard it many times, that two men or two women have the “civil right” to marry is a pure rationalization. If that were true, then the right would also go to sisters and brothers; fathers and daughters; mothers and sons. Can you picture your world in which brothers were sanctioned to get their sisters pregnant? How about a father’s right to impregnate his own daughter? How about a mother’s right to bear her son’s child? Don’t forget your world would also include men masturbating men and women masturbating women; isn’t that the sexual part of gay marriage?

    And finally Kandra:
    You reproduce this filth and then you stand idly by and say nothing. Your silence speaks volumes. As a deacon you have a much bigger responsibility to defend Catholicism and Christianity than the rest of us “lay” people. I suppose it is possible that your silence indicates that you believe gays should have the right to marry.

  13. Re: Ron Chandonia #12

    Item #1: “Laws are instructive; they pass along society’s mores to generations yet to come.” Very true. You can learn a great deal about a past society — including the church — by studying its laws in a historical context.

    If you have a chance, study the Code of Canon Law that was published in the early 1900’s (NOT the one published in 1984). In case you did not know, it was considered a secret/confidential document. It was published only in Latin and was copyrighted in such a way that it was illegal to translate it into any vernacular language. What seminarians in training before 1984 did was study things called “Pastoral Companions” that did translate extracts of select laws considered important for parish pastors and confessors. Even those extracts are instructive in their own ways.

    Item #2: “Gay marriage says that family bonds have no basis other than fleeting attractions.” I have no idea where you came up with that insight. I have been told by folks within the LHBT community that life-long fidelity between “gay” couples is probably the same percentage as life-long fidelity between “straight” couples. I really do not know how you — or my own sources — would prove that one way or another.

  14. ron C. #12: So you’re basically saying that those of the same gender who are married have no family bonds? That IMO is very inaccurate. I have 2 couples who are friends, and happen to be lesbians. The are a family, just like any heterosexual couple. Some same gender couples raise children—that is a family. Those children have grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc. It’s called family.

    Also you seem to imply ( I may be incorrect) that those who happen to be gay just have fleeting attractions. Many heterosexuals also have “fleeting attractions”. Many, many couples who are same gender live together as partners for years—-20-30 or more just like those of opposite gender couples. Why should marriage between same gender people be any problem for those who are not? It shouldn’t.

  15. Our neopagan society has decided that “family” means anything we want it to mean–and scorns the notion that every child deserves a mother and father committed to one another and to the welfare of their offspring. Just the other day, the LATimes offered us a glimpse of the new “normal” for America’s children:


    Gay “marriage” is an expression of society’s acceptable of these new norms: kids can just learn to cope with the shifting attractions of adults whose creation and playthings they are. I think that is not just misguided but devastating to children and therefore evil.

  16. re: foxfan6 @ #13 “[A] politician like any other child of god must follow Christian rules before anything else.”

    The problem with the idea of following rules is that the words “rules” has an overtone (or “connotation”) of something imposed more or less arbitrarily. You have rules in a game. Driving laws are the rules of the road. But the “rules” here aren’t something that can be changed, like the size of the strike zone or the right of way. They flow from the reality of human nature. Human intelligence can discover this reality and derive principles by which people can conduct themselves in harmony with human nature.

    Of course, since God created the reality in which we live, it is also true, that these principles, which we call natural law, are also God’s plan.

    But in a pluralistic society, to say, correctly, “It was God’s plan for the continuance of the human race; for reproduction. Two men cannot reproduce. Two women cannot reproduce,” is not what we need. What we need to say is more along the lines of, “The state didn’t create marriage and doesn’t own it. It exists by nature for the reproduction of the species and the education of the young. Two men cannot reproduce. Two women cannot reproduce. So for the state to treat their relationship as the same thing as that of a man and a woman is absurd. It flies in the face of the basic biological realities of humanity.”

  17. Abortion, easy divorce, the sterility of Gay marriage– America and most of the west are on a suicide course.
    America will sink into the rubbish heap of history. The Catholic Church, however, will endure because–unlike the disintegrating Protestant churches–the Catholic Church will continue to be pro-life and will become the refuge of those who truly value life and are willing to be fruiful and multiply.
    And politicians like the Kennedys (who led the way for Catholics to trash their consciences ) and the Cuomos will one day be seen in this life- or the next for what they really are –traitors to life, and destroyers of civilizations.
    This is one of the secrets to the thousands of years the Catholic Church has survived–baffling many historians– while whole nations, peoples, and empires have disappeared.
    However, Catholics should be ready for harrassment and even persecution. You can already see it in businesses sued, the treatment of Catholics by the media and the firing of people in Ma. and arrest of parents in Ma. for not wanting to be part of the anti-life decadence and corruption.

  18. Ron C. #16; Family is made up of people who love and care for each other. IMO, It isn’t just made up of the Mom and Dad and 1.5 children. How many heterosexual couples still have a mom and dad living together? How many single parents are there—either just mom or just dad? In some cases the grandparent is the sole caregiver. IMO the love, care and protection of a child can be done in many different combinations.

    In some cases 2 same gender people adopt children the some one didn’t want. Those chldren are loved and cared for as their own. This is a good. Though it flies in the face of some religious doctrines, same gender couples, (the women) have biological children—in my world—that is “reproduction” . Also some same gender males have children through a different means. Right or wrong in the view of some faiths—it is reproduction.

    No church or faith will ever be forced to perform a marriage ceremony for anyone—and that is IMO, the way it should be. The word “marriage” is not restricted to religion. Marriage can be either a religious ceremony or a civil ceremony. Why it bothers folks in religious circles is beyond me.

  19. pagansister — “same gender couples, (the women) have biological children—in my world—that is ‘reproduction.’ One of the the women is the biological mother, that is the supplier of the ovum. If the embryo is implanted in the other woman’s womb, that does not make her the biological mother any more than surrogate mothers for heterosexual couples. “Also some same gender males have children through a different means.” Again, one is the biological father and the other is biologically unrelated.

    Do you notice how clinical it all has to be, how denatured? As some have pointed out, this, along with in vitro fertilization and artificial contraception, is really ironic for a generation which seems so fixated in other respects on being “all natural.”

    But anyway, the reproduction is not accomplished by the same-sex couple alone. They must introduce a third party, of the opposite sex, into it. So I can’t see how it could be accurate to say simply that the same-sex couple reproduce.

    Adoption, IMO, is beside the point. Unmarried people have been adopting for years.

  20. “No church or faith will ever be forced to perform a marriage ceremony for anyone—and that is IMO, the way it should be.”

    Just keep telling yourself that paganister. The same old lie that “same-sex unions aren’t going affect anyone” and that the acceptance of them “isn’t persecuting the Church”. If I’m not mistaken, Protestant and Catholic adoption agencies can’t even operate according to their beliefs anymore and were forced to shut down because they refused to given children to same-sex couples which is digusting and does violence to the child. Gay couples have no business adopting children.

    Not to mention a New Mexico photographer who refused to photograph a gay couple’s commitment ceremony was forced to pay the couple’s attorney’s fees. And a psychologist from Georgia was fired after she declined to counsel a lesbian about her relationship!

  21. pagansister et al. have a good point. Once you decide that legislatures can redefine fundamental terms having to do with human nature and the most important unit of human society, then anything can become a right. Marriage between two women has become a right because the State has decided to define it as such. If the State chooses to limit it at 2 people, that’s fine, because it’s all perfectly arbitrary, according to this point of view.

    It the long term, though, it’s a losing proposition. If rights aren’t grounded ultimately in God, they come and go. In the meantime, they give the appearance of being universal rational absolutes, but that is just superstition.

  22. Obviously there is some confusion on his part about what marriage is – the bible clearly states that marriage is a covenant between a man, his wife, and God!!! Period. God’s laws trump society’s laws, always – especially when we are called to answer for the choices we’ve made at the time of final judgement!!

    We are all blessed with gifts and talents by God to use to glorify Him – and Him alone. Mr. Grisanti has chosen to use his talents for the purpose of fulfilling the mission of Satan. He will carry the burden of leading many souls to sin, for his unwillingness to stand up for the faith! You can’t have it both ways!!

  23. foxfan#6, post#13:
    “In my world” those comments you made regarding fathers, fathering children with their daughters and all the other stuff you mentioned are also wrong. No further comments need to be made as my comments were regarding the article and 2 consenting same gender adults who wish to commit to each other in marriage. I almost anticipated your response but chose not to bring it up in my post previously. You unfortunately didn’t disappoint me. I’ve heard those comments before from those who are against same gender marriage. The arguments you bring up are not related to this topic at all. As to the comments about what happens physically between a married couple of the same gender—that really is no one else’s business.

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