NEW YORK - Evangelicals yesterday applauded the decision by New York top court to uphold traditional marriage and not allow same-sex union under state law.
"I'm happy," commented New York State Senator the Rev. Ruben Diaz (D-Bronx). "I think that it is a victory for the evangelical community."
In a 4-2 decision, the Court of Appeals ruled that the state's marriage law is constitutional and clearly limits marriage to a union between a man and a woman. And any change in the law would have to come from the state Legislature, Judge Robert Smith said.
"These rulings represent a significant victory for America's families and, I hope, signal an awareness by the judicial branch that the people don't want courts acting as superlegislatures," said Dr. James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family, in a released statement.
"We fought for that," added Diaz, also head of the New York Hispanic Clergy Organization. All the time, we believe that only the state legislatures are the ones that could decide if there should be homosexual marriages or not.
Gay marriage advocates, however, said they haven't and will not give up the fight and will probably lobby the Legislature.
"We're in this for the long haul," said plaintiff Regina Cicchetti, according to the Associated Press. "If we can't get it done for us, we'll get it done for the people behind us."
Diaz expected such a reaction from the gay community saying he and the evangelicals are "ready." "I know the homosexual community is going to start putting pressure on the Legislature. We [will] continue to fight, he said.
"I intend to see that the State legislature continues to safeguard and honor the centuries-old recognition of marriage defined as the union of a man and a woman."
The gay marriage ruling comes only days after the city ruled against the first "gay high school" in the nation. Liberty Counsel filed suit against Harvey Milk High School on behalf of Diaz and parents of public schools students as it only admitted "gay, lesbian, bisexual or questioning" youth and would continue to restrict admittance even when it becomes a publicly-funded school.
School administrators and the Hetrick-Martin Institute, a private pro-homosexual organization, said that they cannot discriminate in admissions, or otherwise, against heterosexual students, according to Liberty Counsel. The school is now open to all students and will mainly be described as "small transfer school" for those who have not been successful in at least one other school.
"We are pleased that the New York City Department of Education (DOE) finally agrees that students should not be segregated according to 'sexual orientation,'" said Erik Stanley, chief counsel for Liberty Counsel, which will be launching a "Keep Harvey Milk High Accountable Campaign" to monitor that the DOE abides by the settlement.
Counting both the school and gay marriage ruling, Diaz noted, "That was two victories."
Hours after New York's high court decision, the Georgia Supreme Court reinstated the state's constitutional ban on gay marriage, ruling that the ban did not violate the state's single-subject rule for ballot measures.