NEW YORK – Thousands of protesters who marched in the "Let People Vote" rally Sunday in Manhattan say that overturning the gay marriage law in New York is possible, pointing to what happened in California.
Protesters in the rally Sunday urged lawmakers to put the issue of gay marriage before voters in a statewide referendum. A massive crowd chanted "let the people vote" as they made their way from Gov. Andrew Cuomo's New York City office and alongside 3rd Ave. toward the United Nations.
"I'm here because first it is important that people can vote in a referendum for them to decide whether they want this gay marriage law or not," Miriam Fernandes, an Ecuadorian American, told The Christian Post.
"The law can be canceled as what happened in California," shouted one of the marchers.
Gay marriage opponents who marched in the rally are upset because they say state lawmakers approved the law in June without hearing the voice of the people. They say that if New Yorkers would vote to ban gay marriage if they were allowed a vote on the issue.
Dr. Hector A. Chiesa, president of Radio Vision Cristiana 1330 AM, one of the largest Christian Spanish radio stations in New York, said that it may take some time to overturn the gay marriage law in New York because state lawmakers who supported the law must first be voted out of office in the 2012 election.
"The law cannot be changed this year, but will take another year or so, because we will first try to vote out both Democratic and Republican lawmakers who voted in favor of this law," Chiesa said to The Christian Post.
"California had approved the law, but there was a referendum to the people and in the election, we won and abolished the law. I believe it can succeed in New York State. So we must continue the fight, which is only beginning," the Hispanic leader told CP.
Over 52 percent of voters in California approved Proposition 8, which defined marriage as a union between a man and a woman in the state’s constitution, when it appeared on the 2008 ballot. However, the gay marriage ban is currently in dispute after a district judge ruled it unconstitutional and a federal judge upheld that ruling. Prop. 8 proponents are appealing the case.
In California, voters can directly petition to place the marriage issue on the ballot and could overturn he gay marriage law but in New York there is a different process. A simple majority in both the state House and Senate must vote to place the gay marriage issue on the ballot.
If the issue does make it before voters, New Yorkers can then decided whether they want to ban gay marriage by approving a constitutional amendment defining marriage between a man and a woman.
According to National Organization for Marriage, a traditional marriage advocacy group which organized Sunday's rally, over 30 states have constitutional amendments banning gay marriage. The group is confident that New Yorkers would vote to uphold the traditional definition of marriage because no state that has considered the issue has ever allowed done otherwise.
Despite Chiesa's estimate that the gay marriage law could be overturned within a year, NOM leaders and rally organizers say that process will likely take three to five years.
Christians, who made up the majority in the "Let the People Vote" rally in New York City, defended that marriage exists only between men and women and claimed that gays have no right to redefine marriage.
"Anything against God is sin" and "New York wants real family values," read signs carried by several protesters.
During the march, Christians were seen holding Bibles, praying, and singing hymns.
Orthodox Jews also joined the rally against gay marriage, displaying signs that stated, "LGBT Marriage: flaunts the Rebellion against the Almighty."
One protester, who identified himself as gay, said even he is against gay marriage and considers homosexuality a sin. He even held a sign saying: "I am Gay! I don't support same sex marriage, civil unions or gay adoptions. Overturn this sham of a same sex marriage bill now!!!"
"Let the People Vote" rallies were also held Sunday in Albany, Buffalo and Rochester.