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More than ever.

I’ve lived in New York for my entire life, and as much I love this state all the time, I love it more than ever right now. A few hours ago, the New York Senate voted 33-29 in favor of legalizing same-sex marriage, which brings this country a whole lot closer to realizing our founding ideals of equality.

To every tireless LGBT advocate who has fought for equal rights for decades; to every senator who crossed party lines to ensure the bill’s passage; to Governor Andrew Cuomo; and to everyone who wasn’t afraid to SPEAK OUT and ACT UP in order to get this done—THANK YOU.

And to all of my beloved friends who until today were denied the right to choose to marry if and who they wish, thank you for hanging in there. I never took for granted that I could do what you couldn’t without a second thought. And I love you so much.

Now go and have the BEST Pride Weekend EVER.

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77 Comments

  • Reply No Idols June 25, 2011 at 3:03 am

    Such great news, not just for the LGBT community, but for everyone who believes in love and equality. Congratulations from your neighbors in Canada!

  • Reply Fiona June 25, 2011 at 3:26 am

    Hear hear. And if you can make it there, you’ll make it anywhere.

  • Reply Simone June 25, 2011 at 3:26 am

    Yes, great news! Congratulations! What took you guys so long?

  • Reply Audrie June 25, 2011 at 3:27 am

    I’m just thrilled about the news, especially since now one of my best friends can finally marry her girl 🙂

  • Reply Ginger June 25, 2011 at 3:38 am

    Where is the LIKE button for this post? I am so, so happy, all the way on the other side of the world this evening. *loves everyone in the world right now*

  • Reply Jenny June 25, 2011 at 4:27 am

    This is brilliant news!!!

    I just hope Australia can take a step in the right direction- it is what the people want!

  • Reply Katja June 25, 2011 at 4:42 am

    That’s wonderful news! 🙂

  • Reply Anna June 25, 2011 at 5:10 am

    Wonderful news. We are still fighting the good fight out here in California re; the legal battle to to repeal Prop 8. Happy that we have other states to lead the way for us again!

    • Reply julia wheeler June 29, 2011 at 5:58 pm

      i heard that, anna… i’m still in shock that california is so behind the times. i’m just so disappointed in our state! but hurrah for NY!!

  • Reply Monica June 25, 2011 at 6:06 am

    Truly fantastic news! Sunday should be spectacular.

  • Reply kay* June 25, 2011 at 6:43 am

    so so awesome.

  • Reply Grumble Girl June 25, 2011 at 8:12 am

    I nearly sqeed my pants around 10:50 PM last night… : )

  • Reply Patricia Ann June 25, 2011 at 9:35 am

    This is amazing news! Although, I must say I will miss all of your beloved people running up to Canada to wed. 🙂

  • Reply nicolezh June 25, 2011 at 9:46 am

    great news! i always had a hard time believing that new york is still a state where same-sex marriage is still _not_ legal.
    happy pride weekend to everyone!

  • Reply Dave aka Japanese Trash June 25, 2011 at 10:29 am

    Fantastic, amazing, wonderful… fill in with your superlative of choice!

  • Reply victoria June 25, 2011 at 11:51 am

    yay, new york! much love and pride from Paris. xo

  • Reply heather moore June 25, 2011 at 12:52 pm

    Fantastic news! It was actually quite a shock to realise that it was illegal in your country at all, as the right to marry who you please has been legislated here in South Africa for 15 years! many happy wedding days coming up, I am sure.

  • Reply callie grayson June 25, 2011 at 7:00 pm

    Awesome! I wish more States would follow! (the worst being Florida!)
    I am very proud to say that at my work they have been flying the LGBT flag all month in honour of Pride month! That is a huge deal since my work is conservative BUT they are all about diversity in every way! and showing support in such a huge way!

    xx
    callie

  • Reply Adam June 25, 2011 at 10:36 pm

    Thank you Anna! What a wonderful post! Love right back at you!

  • Reply Venus June 26, 2011 at 3:20 am

    I don’t really have a comment to share but if your blog was like facebook with a like button – I would have pressed it :o)

    Happy Pride Weekend!

    • Reply Anna @ D16 June 26, 2011 at 8:49 am

      I’ll consider it LIKED, then, Venus! 😀

  • Reply Gracie June 26, 2011 at 10:41 am

    Cool, I can’t believe it wasn’t already legal, kinda mad that it was in Ireland before NY!

  • Reply Sherry June 26, 2011 at 1:14 pm

    I am so elated! Myself and a bunch of friends called Mark Grisanti last week who is the senator here in Buffalo and was on the fence. Was thrilled to see he did the right thing and voted yes! Now my boyfriends brother and his partner of over 10 years can finally tie the knot. When we spoke to them they were in tears they were so happy. Our pride parade was a few weeks ago. It must be amazing to be in NYC right now.

    • Reply Anna @ D16 June 26, 2011 at 2:32 pm

      I was really impressed by Grisanti’s reasoning behind his vote! It’s a good feeling to know that there are politicians capable of separating their religious beliefs from the right to equality in this country…and who are also capable of really listening to their constituents. Thank you for helping!!

  • Reply riye June 26, 2011 at 6:28 pm

    YES! My friend and I were texting back and forth about how happy we were–he’d been watching the news all week and was convinced it wasn’t going to pass. I even had the pleasure of telling another good friend the news (he hadn’t been keeping track of the goings on)!! So happy for my friends and everyone else in NY!!

  • Reply Amanda @geekdetails June 26, 2011 at 8:53 pm

    I loved this! I was at a convention this weekend and was super happy when a congoer came to the booth asking for custom buttons to celebrate. We ended up making a bunch and passing them out to people that wanted them. THRILLED that another state is recognizing equality in marriage!

  • Reply Noel June 27, 2011 at 6:35 am

    Thank you for posting this!

  • Reply susan June 27, 2011 at 10:38 am

    Good for NY. I am glad this happened but I will be so glad when news like this isn’t really news anymore because it will be the de facto state for our country.

  • Reply L June 27, 2011 at 12:44 pm

    Hooray and good for NY!!

    Now, if the United States congress could just start working TOGETHER for the good of the people, too . . .

    • Reply susan June 27, 2011 at 2:36 pm

      And while we’re dreaming, how about chocolate cream pie that helps you LOSE weight? Oh! and free houses for everyone!

  • Reply Kim @ Yellow Brick Home June 27, 2011 at 3:22 pm

    Love this.

  • Reply Mamma Biscuit June 27, 2011 at 3:49 pm

    After phone banking and waiting, the boys in Albany did the right thing. We had the best Pride here in NYC EVER! I have never seen so many people at the parade before and when Andrew Cuomo passed by I thought I was going deaf from the sheer volume of cheering! This is a giant step foward for equality on a nationwide level. Here’s hoping for a domino effect, state by state!
    xoxo
    the Biscuits

  • Reply cc June 27, 2011 at 6:25 pm

    The people of the great midwestern state of Iowa say “Welcome to the club!”.

    And hopefully the rest of the nation will eventually follow . . .

  • Reply Kristina June 28, 2011 at 8:04 am

    YAY, congratulations! I was in NYC last June and was lucky to see the parade going past – so much happiness, love and pride.

    LOVE from Norway

  • Reply Jesse Lu June 28, 2011 at 9:43 am

    Woo Hoo! Let’s get this ball rollin’ a little faster now!

  • Reply GetLitSF June 28, 2011 at 12:43 pm

    I cannot believe that NY is ahead, way ahead of CA on this one, but as an X-New Yorker, now San Franciscan, I’m proud of my home state.

    • Reply Anna @ D16 June 28, 2011 at 12:46 pm

      Well, it certainly helps to have a governor who is TOTALLY in support of gay marriage!! Andrew Cuomo (and Mike Bloomberg, the mayor of the state’s most populated city) REALLY rallied in support of the bill and didn’t blink once.

  • Reply Kim June 28, 2011 at 12:48 pm

    Totally agree! Hooray New York! Also, I follow you on ‘the twitter’ & I can’t believe you lost followers over this?! Whatever, you’re awesome. Keep on keeping on.

    XOXO,
    Kim

    • Reply Anna @ D16 June 28, 2011 at 1:02 pm

      I don’t think it was this that “cost” me followers, actually (I meant Twitter followers…I have no idea how many people read my blog!)—I think it was a full day of tweets about Michael Jackson. 🙂

  • Reply Steve June 30, 2011 at 1:09 pm

    Anna, I have a different perspective, and I hope you don’t consider this as a “hate” comment – – feel free to delete it if you think it’s not to your standards. First of all, I fully support political equality and equal rights at a civic level. I would be happy to support same-sex civil unions with all the legal rights attendant to marriage.

    Having said that, I think language and the meaning of words are important – – a legacy handed down to us by our ancestors. To me, changing the definition of the word “marriage” to apply to something other than the union of man and woman seems akin to pronouncing that the color green will now be called “red” because the word “red” sounds nicer. It would diminish the meaning of both “green” and “red”.

    I realize that the meaning of words evolve and change their meaning over time, but this occurs naturally have a government- or court-mandated change in the meaning of words seems almost Orwellian.

    I would appreciate anyone’s comments, and am open to honest critique, but please avoid ad hominem responses.

    • Reply Steve June 30, 2011 at 1:11 pm

      Sorry, I meant “this occurs naturally; to have a government- or court-mandated change in the meaning of words seems almost Orwellian.”

      • Reply Dan @ Manhattan Nest June 30, 2011 at 3:20 pm

        I do not, and will never, understand the argument that marriage equality somehow “diminishes” the meaning of marriage for any couple—gay or straight. As long as marriage remains a privilege afforded only to certain segments of the population, isn’t its meaning diminished by its exclusivity? Not that I think any straight couple should have to apologize for enjoying the privilege handed to them simply by virtue of their sexual orientation (not to mention reaping the federal benefits), but there are plenty of heterosexual couples who struggle with the idea of taking part in what mostly remains an inherently discriminatory practice in this country, despite our government’s ostensible claims to equality and freedom for all.

        Perhaps I’m biased, but as gently as people like Steve spell out these views, or variations of them, it’s hard not to see hate at the central core of what they’re arguing. It is, undeniably, both deeply offensive and hurtful to hear people try to explain, in earnest, that my love (current, future, whatever) should not have the right to be labelled with the same word as theirs. That I don’t deserve to have what they have because of who I love. If it’s not personal, and it’s not discriminatory, or prejudiced, or bigoted, or hateful, I don’t have a word for what it is.

        So yes; you’re right. Language is important, which is why if you really think that gay couples deserve political equality, as you claim, marriage is exactly the word we should be using to describe their unions.

    • Reply Anna @ D16 June 30, 2011 at 2:10 pm

      I hesitate to approve comments left with obviously fake email addresses attached to them, Steve (I immediately become suspicious—why hide your address from the blog owner? Especially since you’ve previously commented here numerous times using your real address! Is there a reason you’re willing to “own” your previous comments, but not this one?), but I have no problem with someone having a difference of opinion.

      It seems to me that we changed the “definition of the word marriage” (to use your phrasing) the moment marriages conducted outside of a religious setting and under wholly secular guidelines became common, legal practice. As an atheist, I attach no religious meaning to the word “marriage” whatsoever. Perhaps it’s unfortunate that the Church’s term for recognized unions happens to be the same as the State’s, but that’s the reality of the situation in 2011—and there’s no going back. If “red” sounds nicer to you, that’s because nobody gives a shit about “green” when red is what they recognize. They know what red means, and green is never going to be the same thing.

      And please—if anything, my gay friends being allowed to marry makes the word more meaningful to me. Otherwise it’s just a privilege granted to me for having been born straight. What’s that to celebrate?

      We have a government for a reason, and part of that reason is to create and change laws to protect citizens of this country. Pretending that it’s a better idea to wait for de facto evolution of mass belief is dangerous at best when civil rights are at stake.

      Equal rights under State law (not religious institutions!) isn’t about semantics. It’s about what’s fair and just and progressive, and about what makes our country as a whole a more prosperous and civil nation. It’s a fallacy to think you can achieve that by giving two different names to the same thing. “Separate but equal” is a lie, and I’d like to think that’s a lesson that the US already learned the hard way.

      • Reply Heather June 30, 2011 at 2:23 pm

        Kudos, Anna. Well said.

      • Reply Leah July 1, 2011 at 1:14 am

        FACED! And high-fives for athiesm. I honestly rarely meet people who identify openly as athiests, and it’s refreshing. xoxoxo

    • Reply Martha June 30, 2011 at 2:55 pm

      I am going to try to keep this short…

      I don’t think it’s right to say that marriage has always meant one thing. Before Loving v. Virginia, “marriage” wasn’t allowed between men and women of different races, either, through anti-miscegenation laws in many US states.

      I would hate to think that anyone would regret or look down upon *that* court-mandated change.

      Also, because marriage law *is* so old and so deeply rooted in many different aspects of our lives, government, etc., it would be extremely difficult to create anything even close to equal of a different name for same-sex couples under the law for the very reason that language is handed down and is so important.

  • Reply Justine June 30, 2011 at 2:25 pm

    Handled the comment well. I too agree, the word has MORE meaning being allowed to represent all unions, regardless of orientation.

  • Reply Alex June 30, 2011 at 2:30 pm

    To add my unqualified twopenneth worth…. In the UK is called – officially – ‘civil partnership’. I’ve also seen the ceremony called ‘civil union’. This chimes wrong with me and I will call it what it is: marriage. It doesn’t matter if celebrants are the same sex or different genders, *marriage* is what you are entering into.

    Another hurrah for New York from me 😀

  • Reply Aaron June 30, 2011 at 3:00 pm

    This “definition” excuse is a total canard. Nobody really opposes gay marriage because they’re SO passionate about the meaning of words being concrete and unchanging.

    Marriage is a civil union, as recognized by the State, that extends tax breaks and benefits that give people incentive to couple up and raise families, which in-turn makes for more prosperous communities. Just because this tradition was conceived at a time when the world was still overtly racist and homophobic, doesn’t mean that we can’t expand the extension of those rights as we finally shake off these primitive views.

    Religious dogma doesn’t even enter into the discussion, because the variations of religious belief are too vast and varied to force everyone to adhere to whichever religious doctrine or prejudice, a person may happen to embrace.

    • Reply Martha June 30, 2011 at 3:09 pm

      yes!

    • Reply Anna @ D16 June 30, 2011 at 3:19 pm

      Consider this a thumbs-up, Aaron. Thank you!

  • Reply Fiona June 30, 2011 at 3:03 pm

    Steve, it might help to think of the word ‘marriage’ as ‘the union of two people in love’. I’m reading and re-reading your paragraph about red and green and I can’t interpret your words in any other way than that you are saying the union of a man and woman in love is nicer than the union of a woman and woman, or a man and a man.

  • Reply Aaron June 30, 2011 at 3:21 pm

    Actually, to correct my previous comment, Steve never said words should be unchanging, just that they should only change “naturally,” not legislatively. Which is still odd, considering the issue is a civil one. And how are legislative changes not natural?

    Poll after poll shows that the mainstream is overcoming it’s prejudice towards the gay community, and beginning to finally embrace them. And this legislation reflects that. This HAS been a slow, and natural process. Too slow, frankly.

  • Reply Michelle June 30, 2011 at 3:41 pm

    What Anna said. And Dan. And Aaron. And, well, everyone except Steve.

    And this sort of argument always strikes me as the highfalutin way of starting off a sentence with, “I’m not racist but…” and then saying something overtly racist. “I’m fully supportive of offering gays the same rights/benefits as straights except not really because then green would be red. Or something.”

  • Reply melani rae June 30, 2011 at 4:01 pm

    I’m just sort of thinking ‘out loud’ here, but wouldn’t it make sense that for all the persons who support marriage equality, who themselves are allowed to marry, to NOT get married but instead form civil unions? If marriage is based in religion, and civil unions in law (with all the same benefits) then wouldn’t that further delude the ‘institution of marriage’ while simultaneously strengthening the secular form of partnership?

    (I know it took long enough to get this far, it’s just currently a theoretical idea that popped into my argumentative head)

    Does that even make sense?
    -Melanirae: a card carrying atheist, queer loving, gay marriage supporting, devil’s advocate 🙂

    • Reply Anna @ D16 June 30, 2011 at 4:21 pm

      Ideally that would be the case, but the fact is that in the US the term “marriage” has come to have a semantic value that’s very hard to break away from at this point. I definitely DO understand what you’re saying, though, and in an ideal world…

      • Reply Anna/Norway June 30, 2011 at 6:49 pm

        Hello there:)

        If I understand your comment correctly I believe you would take interest in reading about the Equal Love campaign going on in the UK. (http://equallove.org.uk/)

        A short summary: four gay couples filed for marriage and four straight couples (including a friend of mine and her boyfriend) filed for civil partnership, as they all feel discriminated by the law, since gays can’t marry and straight people can’t enter a civil partnership. It’s kind of big, and now they are waiting to hear from the european court of human rights!

        It’s very awesome and inspiring:)
        As is the happenings in NY.

        And your blog. I really love your blog Anna.

        Lots of love and hope and pride from Norway (where we can marry who we love both in civil and curch seremonies. Luckily!)

    • Reply Kathleen July 1, 2011 at 8:14 am

      Melani Rae – I am a liberal (attempting to be apolitical – but issues like gay marriage keep me in the arena), living in Oklahoma. A couple years ago when my state had a vote on marriage being defined as a union between one man and one woman they also inadvertently outlawed civil unions and common law marriages as well. Interesting, right? But again, I’m in a state where lots of legislation with religious connotations and agendas are passed – it’s beyond frustrating.

      I will never be able to wrap my head around legislation that discriminates ESPECIALLY after our history of segregation and precedent of equal rights.

  • Reply Steve June 30, 2011 at 7:26 pm

    Hey Anna, thanks for posting my comments, and thanks to all for the civil responses. Honestly, the subject can be charged, and I’ve known people who have been hyper-militant on both sides of the issue, so I didn’t know if I would get reasoned responses or just get blasted away – – that’s why I used my junk email address. Your posting of my comments showed more faith in me than I showed in the rest of you all, so I apologize. I should’ve trusted that the readers of this blog are better than that.

    My comments were not from a religious perspective – they were strictly civil and cultural, and they stemmed from an interview I heard on NPR back when Prop 8 was on the ballot. The interviewer asked the No On 8 rep why it was so important to use the word “marriage” and not just “civil union”, and the response was “because the word ‘marriage’ is the ‘Gold Card’ of relationships”. So no Aaron, it wasn’t a canard, the crux of that argument was EXACTLY about semantics, so please do not read hate or bigotry into my sincere questions. (If I really wanted to just hold a position with no dialog, I wouldn’t have bothered to post in the first place.)

    By the way, to state that marriage is the ‘Gold Card’ of relationships probably represents more of a romantic rather than anthropological statement: for example, most social scientists would say the maternal bond is stronger. So I have a semantic problem with it, and I also think it represents a devaluation in our western culture of all sorts of other relationships: friends, family, etc.

    When I said that words change naturally, I meant that the culture at large co-opts them for a new meaning. For example, the word “gay” has obviously changed its meaning in the last 40 years. I’m fine with that. I’d be OK if Prop 8 had passed and thus reflected a groundswell evolution of the term “marriage”. Actually, I tend to be more libertarian, and would be happy if the government got out of the marriage regulation business altogether.

    Dan, I’m sorry that my comments come off as deeply offensive and hurtful. But there has got to be some way to dialog and process this without assuming the worst in another person. If everyone who currently holds a contrary opinion on this is automatically labeled as a homophobic / hater / bigot / and-while-we’re-at-it, -racist, then all that is accomplished is further alienation in the name of love. And that would mean that our grandparents and their grandparents, etc. all the way back for thousands of years who thought of marriage as man+woman were all “haters”… honestly it would cause us to wonder how humankind full of haters ever conceived of love in the first place. Well, they did it they’re not all automatically haters; they – and we – are just people on a journey together.

    Thank you all again for your comments. You’ve given me much to process.

    • Reply Anna @ D16 June 30, 2011 at 8:37 pm

      Well, okay, sure. But at the end of the day, you’re still saying that gay couples don’t deserve the same rights as straight couples. You can dress is up as much as you want, but that’s what you’re saying here. I fail to see how including a broader group of people under the umbrella of marriage devalues anything, semantic or otherwise.

      And no, it’s not true that my position implies that previous generations were “haters” (your word, not mine). Our scientific/genetic/psychological understanding of homosexuality and its sociological ramifications in 2011 are FAR more advanced than they were 100 years ago. Hell, we’re far more advanced than were were even 10 years ago. And yes, that does matter. Human beings are capable of greater learning, greater understanding, and growth. It’s absolutely absurd to hold on to a word (since that’s what you claim you’re talking about here, a WORD!) just for the sake of a “romantic” (your word) notion about what your great grandparents believed about homosexuality just seems sad and pathetic. Tradition is bullshit if people are being oppressed. Bigotry isn’t something we want to cling to. We know better now.

      If you want the government out of the business of marriage (which, by the way, would make MY marriage invalid, too—as well as the millions of other straight couples who choose to marry in civil ceremonies every year), then make that your battle. The fact remains, though, that the word marriage is what we’ve got in the US to define a committed, legal relationship in the eyes of the the State at this point in time. As such, we owe it to ourselves as a progressive, compassionate, and rational society to ensure that this right is granted to every citizen of our nation. Period.

      (Email address are not displayed, by the way. They never have been. Any names that you see displayed as links lead to personal websites/blogs.)

  • Reply Steve June 30, 2011 at 9:28 pm

    Actually, melani’s position makes some sense to me.
    If the government needs to be in the business of defining the legal rights of various unions, then these (including my own) could all be called secular “civil unions”, whether gay or straight. That way, the government treats all on an equal basis with the same civil rights. (That’s where I thought Vermont was going with it a few years back, both for same-sex and opposite sex couples.)

    To clarify, my impression of the NPR interview was that it was the No On 8 person who was saying it all came down to being able to claim a romantic notion of the word “marriage”. And yes, I thought that was an absurd reason at the time. Let words have their own natural evolution within the culture, and let “marriage” continue to be defined within each cultural tribe.

    • Reply Anna @ D16 June 30, 2011 at 9:45 pm

      If you want to fight for a complete end to secular marriage, fine. But in the mean time, what? Deny the right to marriage to same-sex couples because…?

      Because what? Because your grandparents thought homosexuality was a mental illness? And because you’re too hung up on a single word to let civil rights prevail?

      That’s what I’m taking away here, Steve. Correct me if I’m wrong.

  • Reply michelle June 30, 2011 at 10:47 pm

    And really, why shouldn’t everyone (gay or straight) be able to “claim a romantic notion to the word marriage”? Why should only some Americans be able to stand in front of their friends and family, profess their love to and commitment for each other, and have that commitment be recognized as a legal marriage?

    • Reply Anna @ D16 June 30, 2011 at 10:55 pm

      Well, the word “romantic” has several different meanings…and I misread Steve’s use the of the word. (And yes, of course we should all have that right!)

  • Reply the brick house June 30, 2011 at 11:38 pm

    It just all seems so obviously ridiculous – like attempting to deny interracial marriage over semantic verbiage. It reeks of hate. No argument over words and phrasing, either secular or religious, can avoid the basic stance against same sex marriage boiling down to: being gay is just not OK.

    There is nothing except personal and ideological bias preventing same sex marriage.

    So, suck it up. Civil rights are for everyone, not just the folks you like more or those whose lifestyle reflects your personal values. EVERYONE. I can’t deny my meth loving psychotic neighbors, or the cat hoarder next door or the weird guy down the street with the creepy mullet their basic right to get married and have a bunch of awful kids. Even though I can’t stand their choices, I’d never feel justified denying their right to make them.

    I’m not married, but I am in a committed nine year long straight relationship and still can’t get health care because I won’t ascribe to some arcane religious ceremony or bureaucratic approval of my lifestyle choices. I have refused to participate in something that is so obviously constructed to favor certain people over others both in the past and present.

    But now I think I might have to get ‘effing married. Not because I want to, but because I need to go to the doctor and I need health insurance. This whole predicament is probably the most abusive use of marriage I can think of, but because I was born straight, I can totally do it.

    Replace same-sex with any other word – chubby, white, intellectual, runner, keyboardist – and try to deny those folks marriage rights with a straight face. I cannot support keyboardist marriage because it is ruining the ideals and meaning of the word marriage. See? Dumb. So completely dumb.

    • Reply melani rae July 1, 2011 at 3:41 am

      In the same boat. I am, on principle, against marriage, but as I am in a committed relationship to a Swede and we would like to one day move back to the US it’s a legal measure we have to take. And as denying it to part of the population is discriminatory, I’m FOR marriage equality in light of that fact that it’s the institution we currently have, but I would love to see that whole institution dismantled all together. In a dream world as Anna said…

      Great analogy, btw.

  • Reply trent June 30, 2011 at 11:44 pm

    not to play cynical, but until marriage for all is recognized by the federal government, it has such a long long way to go. not in anyway discrediting progress where it is clearly happening tho… for real.

    my thing is this (and this plays into a few different posts here… (melani rae,steve,et al.))…

    i’m from illinois, where civil unions just became legal and are actually just starting to really happen here. and its truly amazing and we are very VERY proud. what makes it interesting in illinois tho is that civil unions aren’t exactly a “seperate but equal” phenom. both straights and gays can enter a civil union. but only straights can enter a marriage.

    this is interesting because i know several straight couples who say, and yes saying is different that doing… but they say they are so against the conservative and religious conotations of “marriage” that they would gladly go for civil unions instead. even tho that throws away a whole list of federal benefits and the protection that a marriage (as opposed) to civil union would offer. i’m not sure how many if any (likely) civil unions have happened for straight people.

    i think in a perfect world, from here on out young people (and people in general (str8 and gay)) in illinois would go for the civil unions, make “marriage” as culturally relevant as baptism. and then push (force) the federal government to recognize their civil unions nationally… and this would be more likely to work (sadly) because there are, you know, str8 people involved and everything…

    long shot, left field, radical, i know…

    but in all actuality…(back to the cynicism) for me a 29 year old gay man, who has been in a committed relationship for over 5 years with my partner, i can’t say i’m willing to dive into the civil union craze here… my younger brother and his fiancee are planning a wedding right now, the comparisons still seem silly and painful and sad at the same time… the fact remains, until my relationship is recognized concretely by the federal government, who’s to say next november some out of state mormon push group won’t pummel my state with hate campaigns and my own otherwise reasonable but redneck family won’t vote my basic civil rights away in some lame and pathetic election cycle. beyond sad really. these things can and have happened.

    but enough with that…. go new york. you did it and because of that— when the world doesn’t end and the sky doesn’t fall because of it— i think we are really that much closer to real equality for all. for real. forever and ever. and i couldn’t be more happy and proud for all of you, and hell, all of us….

    thanks anna, i read your blog (and daniel’s LOVE) “religiously” but haven’t commented till now… you really got me thinking. sorry my thought process is so, um…. LONG… ~best to all~

  • Reply Jenny July 1, 2011 at 12:03 am

    So many great points made above. Thank you Anna, Dan, and all for taking on the issue so coherently and thoughtfully.

    Only two points to add:

    1) Prop 8 – Steve, you write of this as if it’s some kind of end-all be-all vote, a pure and untainted decision handed down by the humble citizens of California. Actually, this was a viciously waged battle with *unprecedented* funding, influence, and activism flowing into California from out-of-state parties (most notably Utah-based Mormon groups). This wasn’t a poll of popular opinion, this was a show-down and anti-gay-marriage groups brought the biggest guns and money – from out of state – into California to influence the local vote. Opinion polls now show that nationwide a majority of Americans approve of same-sex marriage; look only at younger generations and the majority becomes overwhelming. Prop 8 was a fiercely, viciously fought and funded fight with unprecedented outside influence ultimately swaying the outcome.

    2) – “Naturally changing the definition of marriage” – Look, if marriage was just marriage – just a union of two people that was symbolic, perhaps romantic, perhaps religious – but didn’t actually confer serious, legally binding (and exclusive) life-changing privileges and benefits, that would be one thing. But marriage, in this country, is a legal and civil institution as well as symbolic, religious, and personal one. It conveys rights: rights to healthcare, visitation, child custody, legal recognition of familial groups, access to benefits, inheritance, tax breaks, property rights, and on and on. Why some people think that gay people don’t deserve these rights is beyond me. Many radical queer (and queer allied) activists argue that these civil rights should be to de-coupled from the religious/social/romantic institution of marriage. But now – and historically – marriage has conveyed these rights. Why are two partnered people, because of their gender, not entitled to these rights? Denying these civil rights is out-and-out discrimination and oppression, creating second-class citizen status and marginalizing groups of people and their loved ones – the implications of which affect generations in said families.

  • Reply Anna @ D16 July 1, 2011 at 12:55 am

    It’s 1:00AM, but before I call it a night, I just want to say thank you to everyone who has contributed to this discussion so far. I’ll take it all in tomorrow. 🙂

  • Reply melani rae July 1, 2011 at 3:52 am

    Another side that I find interesting/puzzling is that this only truly applies to same SEX (or does it?). How do the states handle cases of gender expression or opposite sex couples, wheret one is trans and passes as the same sex as their partner? I haven’t seen much, if anything, written on this part of the equation. So, foe example If you are FTM, pass as a male, yet still have female reproductive organs and genitals, does the government consider you female or male?

  • Reply Samantha July 1, 2011 at 9:43 am

    I’m in late, but in response to Steve’s comment at 9.28 pm yesterday: How is this *not* a natural evolution of the word “marriage”? Evolution doesn’t have to be like a soft breeze through our culture. It can be a little obvious, too.

  • Reply Sherry July 1, 2011 at 12:17 pm

    “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose
    By any other name would smell as sweet.”

    It’s a WORD! I for one can’t look back on what marriage defines without a healthy bit of disgust at it’s racist past and homophobic present. How anyone but a bigot would have romantic notions about that confounds me. I don’t care one bit if the definition of marriage is changed “naturally” (whatever that means) or if someone takes a sledgehammer to it and makes it so that it encompasses all LGBT individuals. The sooner the change the better and more meaningful the word will be for straights and gays alike.

    Apologies if I sound a bit rude but I’ve spent the past 11 years in the front row seat to two people I love dearly being denied the same fundamental rights that many straight people like myself can take so frivolously. Not that I have but I’ve had several straight friends marry and divorce in the blink of an eye and never ever hear a complaint from anyone about what those people are doing to the word “marriage”. Sorry, but hearing an argument about a few letters thrown together when civil rights are at stake just sounds petty. I usually try to keep an open mind but I can’t see defending something so wrong on the grounds of “well this is what it used to be” and therefore should be protected.

  • Reply Annie markantonatou July 1, 2011 at 2:43 pm

    that’s good for NY

  • Reply Frau Haselmayer July 1, 2011 at 8:54 pm

    Seriously, I do not understand it! Not at all! What is it that offends some people that much if gays are allowed to get married, too?
    Is it the incomprehensible fear that it kind of lowers or diminishs their own marriage? Despite all the anger and lack of understanding about this fear I JUST DO NOT GET IT! How can it affect me if someone else is marrying a man or a woman? How can it affect my marriage? The love I have for my partner? Why should I care whom someone else is marrying?
    Please explain it, Steve?

    I also don’t understand your color example. How does is diminish the meaning of ‘red’ is someone calls it ‘green’? The color itself stays exactly the same! No matter what you call it…and if someone is happier calling red green or the other way round I honestly couldn’t care less. It may cause some confusion, true, but well, reality is that words often cause confusion. Words get mixed up and misused all the time. The meaning of words changes all the time. But in the end it just a fucking word! How can anyone cling that much to a word?
    (I’m not saying that language is not important (it is!) but who am I to judge about how others use language and words? Who am I to tell them red is the only correct term for the color red?)

    And, well, in the end doesn’t it all come down to the fact that some people have obviously different rghts than others!? How can you or anybody think this is fine?

  • Reply Steve July 1, 2011 at 9:21 pm

    Samantha – you are not too late for me; I got a lot of feedback and am taking time to give it the thoughtful consideration it deserves.
    In a sense you are right – – I’m sure this is part of that evolution, and anything that puts it on the front page will continue that evolution in the public consciousness. However, having read the legislation, in some ways the New York action did not provide the semantic clarity that I would hope for.
    It started with the statement of intent that “marriage is a fundamental human right”. (I assume they mean “fundamental” in the old-school “inalienable” sense of the word, along with life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.) But it then goes on to describe how that right will be licensed, regulated, etc. by the state. But if a right is fundamental, then it can’t /shouldn’t be licensed or regulated at all. For example, when liberty is an inalienable right, we don’t need a permit to be issued by the government in order to not be a slave. (Further to the point of this law, there shouldn’t have been religious loopholes if marriage is truly a fundamental right.)

    So as a practical matter I don’t feel like the legislation rose to the intent in the preamble. In fact, the legislation appears like it would be more compatible with the idea that the government can only regulate the legal / contractual / property / transactions of civil unions (whether opposite sex or same sex) – – the libertarian concept discussed in a previous post.

    Anyway, I’ll pull back from the subject for a while so I can digest the comments… but if anyone has further thoughts, please post as Anna allows and I will continue to read.

  • Reply Anna @ D16 July 1, 2011 at 9:41 pm

    I am loathe to close the comments on posts on my blog (by default, all comments stay open for a full year), but this discussion has become little more than “let’s all agree with each other and explain to Steve why he’s wrong”, and frankly—I think we’re giving too much of our energy to a single person who actually doesn’t seem to have much of a counter-argument to offer in response.

    I think we all get it—Steve thinks that same-sex couples do not deserve the right to get married. That’s pretty much the sum of it. He’s walking all over the map, but he’s always going to wind up at the same destination.

    And by the way, Steve, our constitution exists to ensure that fundamental rights are enforced. The concept of fundamental rights does not imply that legislation is not needed to make sure that ALL of our citizens are treated fairly. No, you don’t need a permit to “not be a slave”, but you do need the 13th amendment to stay intact and enforced by the government to make sure you don’t wind up becoming one.

    Thanks to all who commented on this post. It’s very heartening to see how many thoughtful, intelligent, and compassionate people read my blog. I wish you all the best in your lives and loves.

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