On June 24, 2021, Gov. Andrew Cuomo held an event celebrating the tenth anniversary of the enactment of same-sex “marriage” legislation in New York. The event doubled as a signing ceremony for the so-called Gender Recognition Act, which will make it easier for persons identifying as “transgender” to change their names and their sex designations on driver licenses and other identity documents.
Standing at a podium with a rainbow-colored background behind him, Gov. Cuomo spoke proudly about the so-called Marriage Equality Act and about the many other actions his administration has taken to further LGBT priorities during the past ten-and-one-half years. These actions include the passage of the Bathroom Law (which banned discrimination based on the phony category of “gender identity or expression” in employment, housing, and places of public accommodation; because of the Bathroom Law, males who identify as women may now access women’s restrooms, changing rooms, and showers in public facilities throughout New York), the Counselor Coercion Law (which bars Christian mental health professionals from assisting minor clients in resolving unwanted same-sex attraction), and paid surrogacy legislation (which allows same-sex partners and others to rent women’s wombs); the provision of insurance coverage for assisted reproduction for same-sex couples; and the renaming of a state park in Brooklyn to honor a “transgender” activist.
Unsurprisingly, Gov. Cuomo made several misguided comments during the event. At one point, the Governor compared civil unions and domestic partnerships—mechanisms that provided some legal recognition of same-sex partnerships without calling them marriages—to the constitutional provision in which each enslaved person counted as three-fifths of a person for purposes of apportioning congressional representatives in the United States.
The problem with the Governor’s comparison is that it is utterly false. Laws that recognized the opposite-sex nature of marriage did not treat anyone unequally; they certainly did not treat anyone as subhuman. As Thomas Sowell once wrote, “when the law permits automobiles to drive on highways but forbids bicycles from doing the same, that is not discrimination against people.” Before same-sex “marriage” was legalized, the law allowed an adult New Yorker to marry one other unmarried, consenting adult of the opposite sex who was not a close relative. This law recognized both the truth about marriage and the necessity of marriage to the functioning of a healthy society. It also left New Yorkers free to choose whether to marry or to enter into non-marital relationships. There was no injustice.
Gov. Cuomo went on to thank the four State Senate Republicans—Sens. James Alesi, Mark Grisanti, Roy McDonald, and Stephen Saland—who voted for same-sex “marriage” in 2011, noting that all four had eventually lost their seats. According to the Governor, these senators “stood for justice” and were “reviled” by their own party for doing so. Actually, these four senators flip-flopped and betrayed the conservative constituents who had supported them. In some cases, they broke campaign promises. The voters “stood for justice” by holding them accountable.
The Governor went on to sign the so-called Gender Recognition Act into law. NYCF opposed the Gender Recognition Act, which makes it easier for people to change their sex designation on legal documents and to change their names. This law requires courts to grant a petition requesting such changes if it is accompanied by an affidavit from the petitioner attesting to his or her “gender identity.” In other words, a man can now be legally recognized as a woman based on his own say-so and regardless of whether he possesses male genitalia. Significantly, the law will also allow parents to apply for a change of sex designation on behalf of their minor children.
The Gender Recognition Act is a dishonest law signed by a dishonest governor. It is impossible to truly change one’s sex, and New York government should not pretend otherwise. Government should recognize biological sex, not a person’s so-called gender identity.
As Christians speak out against “transgender” laws and policies, it is also important to point out what—and who—we support. We speak out about sex and gender identity because we know that every person is made in the image of God (Genesis 1:27). We know that the Lord is intimately involved in bringing new life into the world, and that he has a plan and a purpose for each person (Psalm 139:15-16). We also know that love does not delight in iniquity, but rejoices with the truth (I Corinthians 13:6). The truth is this: Attempting to become a member of the opposite sex will not resolve gender dysphoria. Like the rest of us, persons with gender dysphoria need the redemptive and transformative love of Jesus Christ. They also need help to become comfortable with their own God-given bodies. We do not want people—especially young people—to make destructive choices based on the false notion that a person’s sex can be changed. We do not want government to mislead people by promoting this falsehood, and we do not want New Yorkers to be pressured to go along with it.