Thousands of protesters Sunday marched from Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s midtown office toward the United Nations chanting, “Let the people vote!” in opposition of same-sex marriage.
Those in the crowd said they were upset that state lawmakers allowed gay marriage to pass this year and that the long-accepted definition of marriage was changed by politicians.
“We’re here to put those politicians on notice that government cannot create life and did not create marriage and has no business redefining either,” said Maggie Gallagher, of the National Organization for Marriage.
“A political vote is not more important than the law of God,” said the Rev. Dimas Salaberrios, of Infinity New York Church in the Bronx. He blamed Cuomo for “caving in” on the gay marriage issue.
The fieriest rhetoric came from state Sen. Ruben Diaz (D-Bronx), the only Democrat to vote against gay marriage. He scolded politicians who promised to vote “no,” but switched, and said gay marriage was essentially voted in under political backroom deals.
“Everything they’re doing today is criminal and it’s wrong,” Diaz told the crowd in Spanish through a translator.
While organizers said they were against gay marriage, they emphasized that the protest was not anti-gay, and disassociated itself with another protest in the city held by members of the Kansas-based Westboro Baptist Church, which is known for picketing the funerals of soldiers.
Protests were also held in Albany, Rochester and Buffalo. In Manhattan, marchers held signs that read, “This is the darkest day in history in New York.”
“We hope eventually, we will be able to change the law again, and there will be [a governor] willing to repeal it,” said Ili Ovits, one of several orthodox Jews in attendance. “We are supposed to do what the Bible says.”
Westboro members stationed themselves in Brooklyn outside Borough Hall, carrying signs using derogatory terms for gays and saying God hates them.
Counter protestors set up across from them, holding up signs that read, “It’s a nice day for a gay wedding.”