Former New York governor weighs in on gay marriage debate

Former New York Governor George Pataki talked by phone with Iowa political reporters this afternoon, a prelude to Pataki's speech tomorrow night in Des Moines ,part of a lecture series sponsored by the American Future Fund.

During the conference call, Pataki was asked about the gay marriage issue as New York's current governor wants to legalize it in the Empire State.

"I happen to believe that marriage is between a man and a woman.  That was the law in New York when I was there and it's still the law today and I think it is the appropriate law," Pataki said,.

"But I think there is another issue here and that is the whole question of judicial activism…The governor is proposing legislation, it's passed the state assembly — that's the way to make policy determinations. You want to have the elected representatives of the people vote when you're making important policy decisions.  You don't want — in most cases — unelected judges, unaccountable judges declare by dictate what they believe policy should be. When that happens, we have removed the elected representatives of the people from their primary role which is to determine policy and pass legislation.

"So on the issue itself I think marriage is between a man and a woman and should continue to be between a man and a woman.  On what happened when a court determines otherwise…whether you agree with the decision, whether agree with the action they took or not, it is wrong for the judiciary to overstep its appropriate role and to take away from the elected officials their right to set the policy of the state and our country."

A follow up question: do you think this is an issue which is a winning one for Republicans across the country?  A key aide to Senator McCain's presidential campaign has suggested it's an issue Republicans consider distancing themselves from.

"You've got to believe what you believe and stand on principle and I'll defer to the political consultants, the advisors, the experts, the pundits as to whether the position is a good one or a bad one, but I happen to believe that marriage has been and should remain between a man and a woman in this country," Pataki said. 

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About O.Kay Henderson

O. Kay Henderson is the news director of Radio Iowa.


  1. To force citizens to perform gay marriages in violation of conscience is terrorism and mocks the American people.
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