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Marriage Vote Draws Strong Response From Catholic Leaders

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Archbishop Timothy Dolan and New York's Catholic bishops issued a strong statement against the state's newly passed law on same-sex marriage, while some churchgoers on Sunday remained mixed on the issue. NY1's Amanda Farinacci filed the following report.

If gays and lesbians around the city are rejoicing after the passage of the same-sex marriage law, many Catholics at Saint Patrick's Cathedral had a much more somber tone.

"Everything in our culture, everything in our tradition is completely against it and it's so unnatural," said one worshiper.

Archbishop Timothy Dolan was not in town Saturday morning, but he and the Bishops of New York State said in a statement, "We worry that both marriage and the family will be undermined by this tragic presumption of government in passing this legislation that attempts to redefine these cornerstones of civilization."

Reverend Stephen Phelps from Riverside Church, a non-denominational church on the Upper West Side, took a different view.

"This is an extremely good thing for the entire society, not alone for gay and lesbian persons but for the whole society," said Phelps. "There is no basis to allege that harm is done when two men or two women commit themselves to each other for their lives."

Some churchgoers who spoke with NY1 outside Saint Patrick's seemed to agree with the reverend's stance.

"People are people and relationships are relationships. Whether they're same-sex relationships or opposite-sex relationships and I think it's about time," said one worshiper.

The new law does provide protections for religious groups, saying they won't be subject to legal action for refusing to perform same-sex marriage ceremonies.

"That was a concern among most Catholics I know, that perhaps that pretty much assured that that will not happen," said one worshiper.

With New York now the largest state to legalize same-sex marriage many expect the new law to inspire similar debates in other states. ClientIP:, UserAgent: CCBot/2.0 ( Profile: TWCSAMLSP