A few weeks ago, Face-Off, my weekly television show, covered the topics of gay marriages and amending the New York criminal laws to make assaults on gay people a separate crime. Now, make no mistakes about it, I am opposed to assaults on any person, and anyone convicted of any kind of assault should go straight to jail. There is no excuse for the use of physical force to intimidate or injure another person. As I reflected on that show, I could not help question whether there was an effort by some to bash the law.
The organized gay activists want to change how assaults on gay people are treated. They would amend the law to create a new category of assault when insulting anti-gay language is used in the attack. The problem I have with such an approach is that it singles out one group for special treatment. What do I mean? For example, over the years there have been a rash of assaults on numbers of homeless people ¬ for no other reason than the fact that the victims were homeless. And insults have been hurled at them during the attacks. In the mind of each of the assailants was a hatred for homeless people and the hatred was expressed verbally with the violence. Yet, they would not be covered by proposals on the table. And the proponents of the gay bashing legislation do not see why the homeless or others should be covered. I am lost in the logic of their position.
Another group of people which has seen much violence over the years is prostitutes. Every few months stories appear about prostitutes who are assaulted and murdered for no other reason than they are engaged in prostitution. I am not condoning prostitution nor am I condoning the failure of society to deal with the homeless. And what about the frail elderly or women who are assaulted. My position is clear. An assault is an assault. It matters not who the aggressive action is directed against. It is obvious to me that the criminal laws need not be changed just because of one or even more high profile cases involving physical assaults on someone in the gay community. Justice should move swiftly for assaults on any person.
Turning to the question of marriage for same sex partners, I feel that there are two issues which have to be considered. First, marriage, comes to us from the major religions of our country and other parts of the world. Religions and moral teachings unite a man and woman in marriage. At the same time, the states of this nation have recognized marriage as the uniting of a man and woman. The marriage concept has been codified in the law. In the last election, Alaskan and Hawaiian voters overwhelmingly rejected the idea of same sex marriages. And Hawaii is one of the most liberal states in the country.
During the next session of the Legislature in Albany, both of these issues will be on the front burner. Legislators who want to be politically correct will jump on the gay bashing legislation to accommodate the boisterous gay activists. They will abandon principle in favor of questionable compromise. It should be a year to watch.