Jason West, who was mayor of the village of New Paltz, NY, until last Tuesday's election, became nationally known in 2004 when he started performing same-sex marriages. When then-attorney-general Eliot Spitzer told him that it was against state law, he refused to stop, risking arrest and prosecution (he was actually charged with a crime) — and the marriages he performed have never been recognized by the state of New York.
In Tuesday's election, Mr West lost to his political friend Terry Dungan, who agrees with most of the former mayor's views on environmental and civil rights issues:
“Jason has a lot of great ideas, he’s a bright man,” he said. “New Paltz was stuck in the mud, and he got us unstuck.”
But Mr. Dungan criticized Mr. West for trying “to do it all himself,” adding: “That doesn’t work in a democracy. Without counsel, you are setting yourself up for failure.”
It doesn't seem that Jason West's loss in the election had much to do with the marriages he performed, which put the town under threat of a major protest from our favourite fundamentalist idiots, the Westboro Baptist Church, which called the village a “sodomite whorehouse” because it (uh, the village) accepted the gay weddings.
I'm sorry to see Jason West go. But, then, I don't live in New Paltz, and haven't followed the other village issues on which the voters made their decision. In any case, I applaud Mr West's stands, and I'm glad to see that his successor shares his views.
Mr Spitzer is now our governor, and, for the record, he is in favour of same-sex marriage. As attorney general, he was informing Mr West of the law as it was, not as he'd like it to be. Governor Spitzer is promoting state legislation allowing same-sex marriages.