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Remember: Invoking entire religious groups in order to make an unrelated political point is probably not the best idea.

New York Governor David Paterson announced today plans to re-introduce an initiative to legalize gay marriage in the state Paterson introduced a similar bill in 2007, which passed the “Democrat-controlled state Assembly passed in 2007 before it died in the Senate,” the AP reports.

Spearheading opposition to the bill is Republican State Senator and evangelical pastor Ruben Diaz, who called Paterson’s timing of the bill “disrespectful.” Though Paterson likely introduced the bill in the hopes of riding the coattails of same-sex marriage victories in Iowa, Vermont, and Washington, D.C., Diaz thinks it’s actually “a laugh in the face” to Catholics, who just “celebrated the installation of New York City Archbishop Timothy Dolan” this week.

But to Diaz, Paterson isn’t just chuckling at the Catholics with his same-sex marriage initiative; he’s also challenging “every religious person in New York.” Says Diaz:

“The Jews just finished their holy week. The Catholics just received the new archbishop. The evangelical Christians just celebrated Good Friday and resurrection. He comes out to do this at this time? It’s a challenge the governor is sending to every religious person in New York and the time for us has come for us to accept the challenge.”

Actually, I’d say that Diaz’ comments are an insult to every religious person in New York who doesn’t ascribe to Diaz’ particular idea of faith. It’s an insult to every religious person in New York who doesn’t believe that faith should be legislated. It is, of course, an insult to every religious person in New York who is gay.

There are many religious leaders who do not oppose gay marriage. I hope the Associated Press gives them the chance to respond.