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State Senator Diaz campaigns for same-sex marriage referendum

CRAIG D. FRAZIER Special to the AmNews | 7/20/2011, 5:26 p.m.

The debate over same-sex marriage has grown into a nationwide controversy, reverberating at the White House, in the halls of Congress, state legislatures, and in the rhetoric of election campaigns at the state and national levels.

Passage of same-sex marriage in New York followed a daunting run of defeats in other states, where voters barred same-sex marriage by legislative action, constitutional amendment, or referendum. New York will join Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, and the District of Columbia in allowing same sex-marriages.

New York State Senator Reverend Ruben Diaz (D-Bronx) is calling for all New Yorkers to attend the "Stand Up And Be Heard Let the People Vote" rally on Sunday, July 24, 2011 at 3 p.m. in front of Governor Andrew Cuomo's New York City office.

"This Sunday, a thousand people will demonstrate in midtown to let Governor Cuomo and Mayor Bloomberg know that even though the same-sex marriage law was approved by the legislature, we will not be silenced," Diaz declared. "In a city where teachers and public employees are being laid off and fire houses are being closed for lack of funds, Mayor Michael Bloomberg has decided to spend city funds to have government offices open on a Sunday to perform same-sex weddings."

African-American and white Protestant fundamentalist churches oppose the bill. In the state of New York, the Catholic Church is the biggest player. Sen. Diaz, a minister, supports those in opposition to the bill.

Diaz has initiated a campaign to request a referendum. If he succeeds, 20 million citizens of New York State can vote to decide whether or not they want same-sex marriage in New York.

"Having had this bad law passed, we should not retreat in fear the way the Apostles did in the days after the crucifixion and before the resurrected Christ came to reveal himself," Diaz stated. "Instead, we need to maintain the same drive that the Apostles had after the resurrected Lord filled them with the Spirit."