|By Jessica Easthope
Governor Cuomo’s message was one of unity during his 2020 State of the State address on Jan. 8.
His motivation: recent incidents of anti-semitic violence in New York.
“Rabbi Rottenberg, I want you to know that I speak for all of the people of the State of New York when I tell you that we stand solidarity and love with you and your community it is appalling and offensive what has happened and this state will respond with its full might and breadth and capacity,” Gov. Cuomo told Rabbi Chaim Rottenberg, whose home was the scene of a violent knife attack by an anti-Semite on the seventh night of Hanukkah.
Though unity was the backbone of the governor’s speech, he also spoke of legislative measures that have already been taken, praising the Reproductive Health Act.
He took issue with something important to people of faith, especially Catholics: lifting a ban on paid surrogacy.
“Let’s move forward and finally pass a law to legalize gestational surrogacy to allow same-sex couples and those struggling with infertility to conceive a child through assisted-reproduction,” Governor Cuomo said.
The New York State Catholic Conference responded with its own statement, writing, “The push by Gov. Cuomo and members of the state legislature to legalize commercial surrogacy is a dangerous policy that will lead to the exploitation of poor, vulnerable women, and has few safeguards for children.”
Another issue on which church leaders in the Brooklyn Diocese have taken firm stance is the legalization of recreational marijuana. “This year let’s work with our neighbors New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania to coordinate a safe and fair system and let’s legalized adult use marijuana,” Cuomo said
Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio has maintained his position that marijuana is a gateway drug and has many more harmful side-effects than it does health benefits. “We’re giving in to people we’re not trying to help them recoup or rehabilitate themselves, this is the wrong approach,” Bishop DiMarzio said.
Gov.Cuomo ended his speech the way he began, with words of unification. He reminded the audience, that during these divisive times, many of our ancestors migrated to the United States in search of religious freedom.