New York Governor Andrew Cuomo does not think that pro-gun, pro-life, or other “extreme conservative” groups have a place in his state. His partisan rant raised questions about what exactly Cuomo would do to make sure these groups had no place here, but from Catholics to pro-life groups to the NRA, they aren’t going anywhere.
Breitbart News spoke with several representatives of core conservative groups who operate in the state. They agreed that it is not their opinions, but Cuomo’s, which are extreme and exclusive in a way that would not resonate with New Yorkers.
New York State Right to Life, fresh off rallies to mourn the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, told Breitbart News that, in their experience, Cuomo’s values are far out of the mainstream of the state. NYS Right to Life Executive Director Lori Kehoe called his comments “almost laughable,” because “New Yorkers stood up in force against his violent abortion agenda last year and, as a result, the Senate held the line against third trimester abortion… It’s clear who is too extreme for New York, and it’s certainly not the majority of New Yorkers who are opposed to expanding our already-extreme abortion law.”
Catholic groups agreed that Cuomo seemed to have a tenuous grasp on what the state’s population looks like. Cuomo, who himself is a Catholic and was profiled as such in the New York Times while campaigning for his current office, appears to leave out the Catholic stance on abortion in proclaiming such an identity. Patrick Reilly, president of the premier conservative Catholic education organization The Cardinal Newman Society, told Breitbart News that his comments “could easily be understood as an attack on faithful Catholics, who refuse to yield in defense of the family and the defenseless unborn.” Reilly compared the comments to the progressive Know Nothing movement’s ideology, “which, ironically, would never have allowed a Catholic to be elected governor in New York–even a dissident Catholic who seems to be ashamed of his faith and his Church.”
In a separate statement, George J. Marlin, Chairman of the Board of Aid to the Church in Need USA, distilled the essential problem with the aggressiveness with which it appeared Governor Cuomo was attacking his conservative constituents: “Governor Cuomo stated publicly what many on the Left have been privately thinking for years: that pro-life and pro-traditional marriage supporters are Ku Klux Klan-like bigots who should either shut up or get out.” Those people, he continues, include “half the nation’s population, who, public opinion polls indicate, oppose abortion and same-sex marriage.”
Cuomo’s comments did not only sting religious and pro-life groups, however. Having specifically mentioned “pro-gun” voters as those that had “no place” in New York, the National Rifle Association has also responded to Cuomo’s threat that his state will no longer be friendly to those groups. NRA Spokesperson Catherine Mortensen told Breitbart News that the NRA “takes every threat made against the Second Amendment seriously,” but that the organization is not surprised. “Using taxpayer funds to go after Second Amendment freedoms is par for the course in New York, stealing out of the playbook of Michael Bloomberg,” she continued. Whether Albany would abuse its political power to threaten or harass gun rights groups is “a question only Andrew Cuomo can answer,” Mortensen said
“We will not be intimidated into submission; we will not back down and will meet the threat head-on,” Mortensen continued. “It is in our DNA to fight to preserve our Second Amendment freedoms.”
Rather than intimidate some into silence or fleeing the state–though some certainly are considering it–New York’s conservative groups are taking Cuomo’s threat as a call to action and a sign that, more than ever, their voices are needed in the state. As NY Right to Life notes, attitudes towards late-term abortions are generally opposed–a national trend. In much of upstate New York, the more rural, mountainous settings house populations strongly in favor of gun rights, both for hunting and protection purposes. That Cuomo insists such views have “no place” in the state is merely acknowledging that those who voted for him agree with him, while the rest of the state’s residents barely seem to matter.