Too often, I have something to complain about: sexism, the ongoing assault on reproductive rights, having to wait until next year for the return of Mad Men. So I’m elated that I have some good news to celebrate. As June celebrates Pride Month, it’s fitting that on Friday, New York State became the 6th (and largest) state in the U.S. to legalize gay marriage…woo hoo!! New York joins Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Iowa, Massachusetts (my home state!!), New Hampshire and Vermont. 6 states down, 44 to go…
One of the surprising aspects of the New York vote consisted of the 4 Republicans who sided with the Democrats in support of the Marriage Equality bill, despite a Republican-controlled Senate. New York State Senator Roy McDonald (NY-R), told reporters:
“You get to the point where you evolve in your life where everything isn’t black and white, good and bad, and you try to do the right thing. You might not like that. You might be very cynical about that. Well, fuck it, I don’t care what you think. I’m trying to do the right thing. I’m tired of Republican-Democrat politics. They can take the job and shove it. I come from a blue-collar background. I’m trying to do the right thing, and that’s where I’m going with this.”
Hell yeah! Why can’t more politicians be as kickass as this guy?!
But Nancy Goldstein at The Nation is suspicious of NY Republicans’ motives, including Governor Andrew Cuomo who introduced the legislation. She perceptively argues:
“Warmest regards and best wishes to all of the same-sex couples that have been waiting until New York state legalizes same-sex marriage to tie the knot here…But that’s where my congratulations end. Because I have limited patience for narratives about political courage or “conversions” or bipartisanship when it comes to most long-time opponents flipping, especially when polls clearly indicated they had nothing to lose. New York’s politicians have been playing political football with same-sex marriage since the ’90s. The fact that just enough of them finally calculated that it’s to their political advantage to kick us over the goal post is no reason to start lauding the human spirit.”
But it’s not only state legislators dragging their feet. The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) prohibits granting thousands of federal marriage benefits such as hospital visitation and inheritance to legally married gay couples. While Obama has declared it unconstitutional, it still remains in effect. Chloe Angyal at Feministing reported that Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (love her more and more!) partnered with Democracy for America to advocate for DOMA’s repeal. You can do your part by signing the petition here.
As I’ve said before, gender shouldn’t dictate love or marriage. With 53% of the American population supporting gay marriage, it’s about time legislators got their heads out of their asses and got onboard. I don’t understand why some people don’t support two people who love each other and want to commit to one another. Marriage equality is just one of the many rights denied to the LGBTQ population. We’re a nation that preaches the merits of civil liberties. But if we truly value democracy, then it’s time we celebrate individuality and respect everyone’s rights. So, c’mon other states…what are you waiting for??