February 26, 2004

Village mayor in New York says he will marry gay couples

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Village mayor in New York says he will marry gay couples

NEW PALTZ, N.Y. -- The 26-year-old mayor of this Hudson Valley village says he will begin performing gay marriages Friday, calling it "my moral obligation."

Mayor Jason West, who won office last year on the Green Party line, said he intends to marry at least four same-gender couples at a private bed and breakfast in the village. The move could make this college village 75 miles north of New York City another flash point in national debate over gay marriage.

"We as a society have no right to discriminate in marriage any more than we have the right to discriminate when someone votes or when someone wants to hold office," West said in a phone interview. "The people who would forbid gays from marrying in this country are those who would have made Rosa Parks sit in the back of the bus."

In recent months, gay marriage has exploded onto the national scene as judges and local officials have aggressively attempted to redefine marriage. A bill in the New York Legislature would ban same-sex marriages, saying a "marriage or union is absolutely void if contracted by two persons of the same sex, regardless of whether such marriage or union is recognized or solemnized in another jurisdiction."

Similar bills have died without action in the past. At least 34 states have enacted so-called defense of marriage laws.

Still no action by the New York City Council or County Clerks here. Punks!

Posted by ronn at February 26, 2004 08:06 PM