Sunday, July 10, 2011

Superman Comes to New York's Gay Pride Event

Happy (and famous) faces at the Gay Pride Parade on June 26th 
(Photo courtesy of the Associated Press)
The New York Times and New York Post awarded Governor Andrew Cuomo “rock star” status when he came to New York for Pride event on Sunday, June 26th. It was more like Mighty Mouse ”saving the day.” In the eleventh hour in Albany, with a close vote of 32 to 29, the legislation of same-sex marriage passed in a Republican-controlled Senate. The Governor, a “super” politician had kept his word.          

Why Did It Pass?
Two years prior, the legislation was defeated. The shift last week was precipitated by the growing constituency within the Republican party who supported and donated to the cause. Four Republican senators: Alesi, McDonald, Saland, and Grisanti bucked their traditional party’s anti-gay marriage stand to do what they knew was right.  A May 2011 Gallup poll bore their views out:  an opinion change within the American public: 53% of Americans believe that the law should recognize same-sex marriage(New York Times, June 27, 2011).
Independent Mayor Bloomberg, who has a gay niece, went to Albany to rally Republicans to vote yes.  Celebrities like lesbian Cynthia Nixon, looking stunning in her sheath, testified in Albany. Singer Rufus Wainwright entertained at dinners on the Upper East Side to raise money, and actor Neal Patrick Harris, had a gazillion-a-plate event.  Even President Obama, who is still “evolving” was in town, but has upset the gay community because he has not come out for gay marriage.
Although Mayor Bloomberg was at the Parade, City Council Leader Christine Quinn with her partner-of-ten-years lawyer Kim Catullo, the hero of the parade was Cuomo who certainly received more than 15 minutes of fame.
“I Love a Parade!”
The day was pluperfect for the Pride event in New York City:  70’s, sunny, with none of the violence that the San Francisco pride had. The crowd was extremely organized into groups that started on East 39th St. and ran down to Greenwich Village. Still “high” from the Victory, they were a motley group: lesbians with tee shirts that read "No one knows I’m a lesbian.” The gay men ranged from older clean-cut types to younger youth with rainbow hair spiked into a Statue of Liberty “do,” black leather clad half-naked men walking cheek by jowl with straights waving their rainbow flags. There were drag queens splattered with body paint on floats. Everyone was unified in celebrating his/her identity, but came to thank Cuomo who was basking in his glory as a hero. 

Not Everyone Was in Favor

Of course, not everyone was thrilled with the outcome of the vote.  Archbishop Timothy Dolan, as could be expected, stated that the Catholic church considers marriage to be only for a man and woman (even though the bill excused religious organizations and other non-profits from performing  same-sex marriage). Governor Christie from nearby state of New Jersey said he would not change his state’s civil unions. And of course, Preacher/Senator Ruben Diaz, even though he has a lesbian relative, could not be persuaded to change his vote to the yes column.
The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) forbids federal recognition of same-sex marriage.  Twenty-nine states have constitutional amendments that define marriage as between a man and a woman and twelve states have laws that ban recognition of same-sex marriage.
Just a Beginning….
Great strides were made in the largest of the six states that allow gay marriage. Many people know or are related to an openly gay person, yet there is an uphill battle for gays and lesbians in the rest of the country. When will GLBT persons be able to get married in all fifty states? Now, that calls for a celebration!
How would you feel if your gay or lesbian child wanted to get married in a state that prohibits gay marriage?