L.I. Republican Candidate Loses Party Endorsement for Performing Same-Sex Weddings
Some Long Island conservatives may not be able to hold a State Assembly seat, but they sure can hold a grudge.
Three years after the State Assembly passed the Marriage Equality Act by a margin of 80 to 63, making New York the sixth state to offer full marriage rights to all citizens, the issue still remains a problem for some conservative politicians on Long Island, North Word News reports.
Bruce Kennedy, a Long Island Republican candidate for State Assembly has lost the endorsement of his party for officiating same-sex wedding ceremonies, which are legal in New York State. Kennedy, a moderate Republican, is mayor of the tiny village of Sea Cliff, which is nestled on Long Island's affluent Gold Coast.
According to Kennedy, the Nassau County Republican Committee rescinded his endorsement when County Conservative Party leaders refused to back his candidacy after learning he officiated two same-sex marriages.
North Word News reports that Kennedy said that the Nassau Republican Committee asked him to try to smooth things over with the Conservatives by apologizing, and promising that he would never officiate at such weddings again and, if elected to the Assembly, to vote against the Marriage Equality Act should its repeal ever come up for consideration.
Kennedy refused, and as a result, he said, lost the party's endorsement. "I cannot and will not accept an order to violate my personal principles to advance my political career," he declared.
"I raised my right hand when I took the oath of office, and I swore to uphold the Constitution and the laws of the state of New York," Kennedy said. Same-sex marriage has been legal in the Empire State since the passage of the Marriage Equality Act in 2011.
CBS News New York spoke with Nassau County Conservative Party Chairman Daniel Donovan Jr. who said "I don't care what the law is. The law doesn't mean anything to the Conservative Party. We believe in the law of God. That's it."
Donovan further stated that it was the right of the party to endorse based on social issues.
"We live and die by them, and he died by it," he said.
Kennedy still intends to stay in the race. "I will not back down," he asserted. "I intend to win the primary and then the general election with the support of Democrats and Republicans."
The seat Kennedy is running for in the 13th Assembly district is currently held by Democrat Charles Lavine. According to a source reported by North Word News, Lou Imbroto, an attorney who lost to Lavine by nearly 20 points in 2012, will have the Republican Committee's backing in the primary.
Kennedy is currently collecting signatures to run in the September primary as a Republican without his party's backing.
This story is part of our special report titled "Gay Marriage." Want to read more? Here's the full list.