Marriage Equality in NY: Readers’ VoicesPosted: July 25, 2011
On June 28, 1969, police raided the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in Greenwich Village, and riots ensued. The next year, on the anniversary of the Stonewall Riot, the first gay pride parade in U.S. history was held in NYC. While the Stonewall riots mark the historic beginning of the gay rights movement, homosexuals continued to be marginalized. It wasn’t until 1973 that homosexuality was no longer considered a mental disorder by the American Psychiatric Association. Massachusetts became the first state to grant same-sex marriage licenses in 2004. As of yesterday, New York has joined the five other states (Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, plus Washington D.C. and the Coquille Native Americans) that grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
Below are the responses of several contributors to this new marriage law:
Being a bisexual teenager whose hope in America’s leaders was slowly dwindling, I nearly cried at the recent news that we had taken one giant leap towards freedom. The moment of the news brought a sense of euphoria to me as if all my hard work and that burning passion to be accepted was slowly being fulfilled. After fighting a losing battle with my own schools Gay Straight Alliance (one that I have vowed to continue until equal rights are fully achieved) I had become discouraged with the movement but the fact that they had passed referendum 71 offered me reassurance that the ongoing battle for gay rights was not a losing one.
Though the news of New York was wonderful, such legislation in the rest of the country is long overdue. I have grown impatient during the wait for change becoming more aware daily that I don’t have the same rights as most people around me. I have always believed that if we have such unjustifiable restrictions on love then how can we teach the children of this generation whats morally right or wrong. It’s hard to believe that there is only a 50% chance that I’ll be able to get married.
I applaud that New York has done something so remarkable and I hope that it inspires other states to do the same. It seems that within years the LGBTAQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Asexual, and Questioning) population will be treated no differently than their straight counterparts. I also hope that someday everyone will be not only legally equal but socially as well regardless of their sexuality. There is a glimmer of hope spreading across the nation and I pray that people will see how much this means to the LGBTAQ members of our nation and their allies and maybe they will take a stand to educate and spread awareness across America.
Before finding feminism and identifying wholly with the movement, I wasn’t too familiar with the LGBTAQ community or its struggles. I certainly didn’t have a problem with people who fit under the acronym’s umbrella, but I knew as much about their varying lifestyles as I knew about theoretical physics (which wasn’t much).
Considering I can literally count my family members on two hands (and the number of non-Christians on three fingers), I didn’t experience much diversity growing up. My parents were cool about most things and taught us to be honest, hard-working, etc., but homosexuality was something we just didn’t talk about at the dinner table. (We rarely ate at the table, anyway. Most of the time we had our butts planted to watch Seinfeld. Bonding at its finest.)
Feminism introduced me to a litany of human rights issues. I’m still not as well-versed in the LGBTAQ movement as I would like to be, but I do have a child-like passion for equality. “Should two people of the same-sex be allowed to get married?” seems like such a stupid question. If two people love each other, why shouldn’t they be inclined to do whatever the hell they want? Love is love. It doesn’t matter what form that takes.
When I heard that same-sex couples can now get marriage licenses in New York City – I was ecstatic. It was one of those fist-pumping “Hell yeah, equality strikes again!” sort of feelings. This may only be a small win in the grand scope of things, but this win will inspire another, and that win will inspire two more.
People are going to fight us every step of the way, but activists and feminists and allies are rising up in mighty hordes. Imagine if we (those of us who want to) go on to have kids of our own, passing on ideas like “equality” and “acceptance.” Our kids will teach their kids, their kids will teach their own kids, and then those kids will go on to teach their kids (the only difference is they’ll have robot butlers by then).
This world is changing for the better, and I am so damn excited.
As a Noo Yawka, I was really happy when Governor Cuomo made it clear that gay marriage was one of his priorities, and even happier when it actually happened. I made calls to various politicians urging them to support gay marriage, so I also view it as a personal victory.
Why is it so incredibly awesome that New York allows two people of the same-sex to marry each other? I view it as a stepping stone to getting gay marriage in every state. So far, only six states (plus DC and the Coquille Native Americans) perform gay marriage, and it’s important that number increases quickly. Once gay marriage is nationwide, it will serve as a stepping stone to get full rights for the LGBT community. It’s obvious that homosexuals deserve the same rights as heterosexuals. We’re all human beings, aren’t we?
What I find the best about gay marriage being legalized is that lots of homosexual couples have opted not to get married just yet. People often forget that the point of getting same-sex marriage passed is so that gay people can choose whether or not to get married, just like straight people can. I think it’s great that gay couples have weighed their options and made honest choices as to whether or not it makes sense to get married, rather than to jump in headfirst when they’re not ready.
For me, the most important thing about getting LGBT rights across the board, including marriage, is ending the dichotomy between the straight and gay communities. It can be compared to men and women’s rights: the more rights women gain, the closer they are to having the same status as men, legally. When women truly have equal rights, it will be much easier to gain equality and end double standards and other prejudiced behaviors in social settings, too. Homosexual individuals across America, and eventually the globe, need to be able to legally live their lives in the same manner that heterosexual individuals do. Once they can, work towards social equity will be much more effective.
So let’s hear a rousing feminist hurrah for all those awesome campaigners who worked tirelessly to get gay marriage passed!
During my teens and early adult years, when a friend would “come out of the closet”, as the expression was then used, the announcement was emotionally charged, and met with resistance and shock by friends and family. Indeed, many homosexuals avoided the subject altogether by continuing to live their lives in hiding.
Thinking back on all this made me all the more thrilled at this year’s Gay Pride Parade, held on June 26th, just two days after the New York Assembly passed the law making same-sex marriage legal. As I walked west toward Christopher Street I heard a tremendous sound of music, singing and shouting. As I arrived just across from the Stonewall Inn – the scene of riots 42 years ago – both onlookers and the parade participants were overjoyed. Of course, the celebration was not only about marriage, but also about long overdue acceptance. The crowd was a cross-section of the city. All of us came together to celebrate human freedom and liberty. Many were waving small American flags. It was an exciting day, but one made sad by the thought that so many people who I cared about were forced to live their lives in hiding, or in shame, or without being able to marry their loved ones – until now.
I wonder how today’s teens and young adults will take hold of this moment? Will it make defining our sexual identities a more open and accepting experience, whatever one’s orientation? Of course, there is so much more to do. Discrimination doesn’t end over night, regardless of what laws are in effect. Under Federal law, the Defense of Marriage Act, passed in 1996, defines marriage solely as the union between a man and a woman. And of course most states continue to define marriage the same way. Yet, freedom is on the march. And, over time, freedom has a way of winning out.
I wasn’t surprised when I heard the news about gay marriage becoming legal in New York; in fact, I expected it. There shouldn’t be such a big issue on gays getting married; they should have the same rights as heterosexuals. Homophobic people make it seem like if a same-sex couples kiss then they will be forced to kiss someone of the same-sex and there would be no more straight people in the world to reproduce. Same sex couples want to have the freedom to be connected legally. Honestly, heterosexual couples have been getting married since the beginning of time and look where it’s gotten them; to a divorce rate that’s above 50%. On the other hand I don’t believe people need a piece of paper and a witness to prove they are together. If you’re in love I believe you, no need to whip out a certificate printed on frilly paper. I’m grateful that me, my girlfriend, and any other homosexual couple can get married but to be honest, marriage isn’t everything.
I believe what is happening is fair, society’s moral standards aside. This should have happened long ago, and I am happy for NY’s same-sex couples who desire to legalize their unions. I think marriage is just an institution that may be taken as symbolic of love, so it should be a basic right for everyone regardless of sexual orientation and gender. I really hope the rest of the world will look at NY as an example!