New York Gov. David Paterson says some opponents of gay marriage who cite religious belief failed to act on their faith when gays and lesbians were victimized.

Paterson told thousands of gay rights advocates lobbying in Albany on Tuesday that some of the opponents who invoke religious doctrine did not step up when young gay and lesbian students were victims of hate crimes. Paterson asked the crowd where these leaders of faith were when gay and lesbian college students were being beaten.

Paterson did not mention any opponents by name.

A spokesman for the New York State Catholic Conference called the governor’s comments insulting and harmful.

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