Saturday, June 25, 2011
New York Loves Love
Marriage Equality legislation passed the New York legislature last night - and Governor Cuomo signed the bill with a flourish shortly before midnight. Bam. We have a new law.
There's no question for me that this is cause for celebration. There was an entire group of people who were not allowed to make the same legal commitment to each other that other New Yorkers can because of their sexual orientation. That's discrimination. And it's so ironic that while the gay population is desperately fighting for the right to make those vows, the straight population is divorcing in record numbers.
I predict good things for the economy (weddings are BIG business!), a lot of VERY happy people and, naturally, a lot of challenges to the new law.
But what struck me most was the contrast between two Republicans. One grandstanded, speechified and insisted on changes to the bill that ensured religious protections. He went so far as to ask Twitter readers which way he should vote. The answer was an overwhelming "yes!" After getting the changes he wanted, his vote was "No."
It was a second, quiet, more contemplative Republican who has always been a supporter of civil unions, but couldn't support gay marriage who found himself in the pivotal role. At the eleventh hour, he said that with the changes in place, he couldn't in good conscience vote against equal marriage rights. And his vote, no doubt one that will anger some voters, made the difference.
Hats off to that rarest of animals - a legislator who votes his conscience, not what will get him re-elected. May he serve for as long as he wishes and may his colleagues learn something from him.