Protest breaks out on MCC gay-marriage ruling appeal

Protesters in Monroe County recently rallied against an appeal that aims to overturn a recent state ruling on gay marriage.

Approximately 75 people including clergy, local leaders, the Gay Alliance of Genesee Valley, Interfaith Advocates, Social Action for Marriage Equality and other organizations gathered outside of the Monroe County Office Building on Feb. 25. They protested county officials' decision to appeal a Feb. 8 ruling that requires New York State to recognize same-sex marriages performed outside of the state.

The controversial appeal stems from a case involving Patricia Martinez, who sued Monroe Community College after being refused health benefits for her partner.

According to the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, Monroe County Executive Maggie Brooks announced that the county would appeal the appellate-court ruling to protect taxpayers.

"From a taxpayer's perspective, this could add costs to the way we do business in government," Brooks said.

Martinez, however, disagrees.

"She claims that she's protecting taxpayers but I pay taxes too, and she's not protecting me," Martinez told Rochester TV station WHEC.

There doesn't seem to be a clear consensus on the issue at Geneseo.

"Go for it," said freshman Nicole Loiacano. "Gay marriage is a religious issue, not a state issue. People shouldn't be so concerned about making it illegal."

Freshman Clarence Ling agreed.

"It doesn't really affect me, but I don't think people shouldn't be allowed to get married," he said. "I support gay marriage."

Geneseo's Intervarsity Christian Fellowship President Erica Furey, a junior, spoke out against gay marriage.

"In our minds homosexuality is a sin just as any other sin," she said. "[It is] something many churches and Christians fail to recognize."

Same-sex marriage is legal in Massachusetts, but still illegal in New York. Gov. Eliot Spitzer and the state Assembly have supported equal-marriage legislation, but the state Senate has not.

In 2005, Canada became the fourth country to legalize same-sex marriages nationwide with the approval of the Civil Marriage Act.

Martinez was married legally in Ontario in 2004.