Monday, September 19, 2005

Newspaper watch: Hoy New York and same-sex marriage

Yesterday, the New York City edition of Hoy (one of the two largest Spanish- language newspapers in the city) published an opinion column by Mexican writer Carlos Ruvalcaba titled "Minority Rights: Puritan Double Morality."

In the article, Mr. Ruvalcaba argues that for a city as cosmopolitan as New York, marriages between same-sex couples should be legalized but that, despite a favorable New York State Supreme Court ruling by Judge Doris Ling-Cohan, same-sex marriage advocates continue to meet insurmountable obstacles.

He says that those who want to keep gays from getting married are "the same who oppose abortion but that give licence to Bush so that the armed forces kill and continue killing children, women and innocent elderly people in Iraq and Afghanistan."

It is not the first time that the newspaper publishes an opinion piece that argues for the right of same-sex couples to marry but, in recent months, the newspaper seemed to back away from the issue after the presidential elections.

Editorially they have also shown some temerity: When Mayor Mike Bloomberg decided to challenge Judge Ling-Cohen's ruling in the courts, an Hoy editorial congratulated the Mayor for his pragmatism in dealing with a difficult issue... but then stayed away from editorializing on the issue itself.

To date the editorial board at Hoy has not gone on the record as to whether they endorse the right to marry for same-sex couples (to be fair, their competitor - El Diario La Prensa - also has stayed mum). [in contrast, Los Angeles La Opinion, the third of the major Spanish language newspapers in the nation, has editorialized on the issue twice and given same-sex marriage a ringing endorsement].

Unfortunately, as great as it is to see Hoy accepting positive editorials on this issue once again, in his arguments the author makes several mistakes:

1. The author argues that there should be a constitutional amendment allowing same-sex couples to marry. Ah, no. The United States constitution supposedly guarantees equality for all and those seeking an amendment are doing so to LIMIT the right to only a specific number of couples. The issue here is NOT adding amendments to the United States constitution, it's to make sure that the country does what it says it does: Guarantee equal rights for all.

2. The author argues that Mike Bloomberg or, should he become mayor, Fernando Ferrer, should legalize same-sex marriage in the same way that Gavin Newsom did in San Francisco. Ah, no! Gavin Newsom did not - and does not have the power to - legalize same-sex marriages and nor does the Mayor of New York City. They can interpret existing law and allow public offices to release marriage certificates if the law says that it's legal, but sometimes even interpretation can be faulty as even Gavin Newsom found out when all the same-sex marriages that took place in San Francisco were invalidated.

3. Mayor Bloomberg and Ferrer on same-sex marriages: While mentioning Judge Ling-Cohen's court ruling, the author seems to totally disregard that it was Mayor Bloomberg who decided to use the power of the Mayor's Office to challenge that same ruling while Fernando Ferrer has long been on the record for unequivocally supporting the right of same-sex couples to marry. While in one of the debates Ferrer went as far as saying that, should same-sex marriages be legalized in New York, he would officialize at same-sex weddings as a public official, Bloomberg is not about to say the same thing.

As flawed as the opinion column is, at least it is an endorsement of the issue. Now, if only the editorial board could right the wrongs in the column and editorialize on behalf of the right for same-sex couples to marry as their Los Angeles counterpart has done!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

No one is free when others are oppressed...