June 27, 2011

Marriage Equality Passes in New York

After years of trying, marriage equality finally passed in Albany last Friday night.  With the leadership of Governor Cuomo and the remarkable votes of four Republican senators, the bill was signed into law by the governor shortly before midnight.  The support from across the aisle was key and notable too for one senator's moving statement describing his vote: “I cannot deny a person, a human being, a taxpayer, a worker, the people of my district and across this state, the State of New York, and those people who make this the great state that it is the same rights that I have with my wife.”  Thank you Senator Mark J. Grisanti....for your vote and your simple eloquence. 

To celebrate the event, there was an impromptou street party in the Village on Friday night in front of the historic Stonewall Inn.  It was there that 42 years ago, almost to the day, gays and lesbians and transgenders stood up for their rights for the first time as they fought back against a police raid on their bar. The ensuing riots lasted for 3 nights.  I stopped by the Stonewall on my way home later that night and, instead of bricks and broken glass, there was confetti and glitter and plastic champagne flutes on the sidewalk. It was a stunning sight to see.

Flipping through the TIMES photos of yesterday's gay pride parade, there was another image that got my attention.  It was a picture of a female police officer along the parade route, down on one knee, as she proposed to her lesbian partner in front of a receptive crowd.  Wow....to see it for yourself, just click here.  This is one of those pictures worth a thousand words as it captures the incredible story of the progress of the modern gay/lesbian civil rights movement....from police brandishing riot sticks to offering a glittering engagement ring.