I was in a restaurant in Denver when emails started popping up with "New York" and "marriage equality" in their subject lines, and was stunned to read that at 11:55pm on Friday June 24th, Governor Cuomo signed the same sex marriage bill into law. It was passed by the New York Assembly and the Senate, after a lot of conversations Cuomo and LGBT rights advocates had with legislators, and legislators had with each other. The NYT has an interesting article detailing all the backroom politics here.
It's amazing how it all came down to the personal; Cuomo's partner Sandra Lee has a gay brother and she was sure Cuomo didn't forget it; key Republican Senator Kruger switched his vote from the the failed 2009 marriage equality bill because his partner Dorothy Turano has a gay son who cut both of them off after the no vote.
And this is exactly how the rest of the country is going to change. By realizing that they know someone gay or lesbian, and that person dear to them may want the same right to marry the person they love and have all the 1,000+ rights accorded by marriage. Civil unions do not cut it, so let's stop fooling around with them, and allowing politicians to waffle by saying they support them, and pretend that is equality. (I'm looking at you, Obama.)
I recently finished Dan Savage's book "The Commitment," a memoir about his and his boyfriend Terry's struggles with the idea of marriage. Will getting married make him like a straight person when he wants to be sure to maintain a queer identity? Will it jinx his relationship? Is pissing off right wingers like James Dobson enough of a reason to want to do it? I loved his reminder to the queer community that marriage is not mandatory, it just should be one of the many choices on the table for us.
Thanks to New York, the US has just doubled the number of lesbian and gay residents who could get married if they so choose. Holy crap.
Oh and speaking of New York, in case you haven't had the pleasure of seeing Neil Patrick Harris's opening number at the Tony's: