On the vast majority of issues facing us today, there is a place between the two parties where reasonable people can be. Marriage Equality is not one of them, regardless of what any on the fence Republicans in the New York State Senate may feel. There is no reasonable, rational, earthly case to oppose Marriage Equality. Republicans, such as fence-sitter Senator Greg Ball, would call such sentiments left-wing extremism. They are simply wrong.
I grew up in a very gay area, so to speak. Growing up in such a community meant that to me being gay was not something to shame people for, it was something to embrace them for. There was nothing scary or evil about them. The gay couple living a couple buildings over from me never tried to "turn me gay." My LGBT teachers didn't attempt to indoctrinate me with gay morals. They just indoctrinated me with morals everybody should live with: share, do your work promptly, do what you know in your heart is right, love deeply, listen to your parents, listen to me, no seriously listen to me or I'm gonna send you to the principle.
From such a background, Marriage Equality is something I've been following very closely for a long, long time. I was elated when Massachusets legalized same-sex marriage, and I was devastated when state after state declared gay and lesbian Americans unworthy of the right of marriage. Every small step forward, every bit of progress and all cultural acceptance that was made before felt like it was erased in that dark moment in November 2004. Slowly though things seemed like they were getting better. 2007 when the New York State Assembly first passed a Marriage Equality bill, I felt proud to be a New Yorker. Shortly after the bill passed I marched in the NYC Gay Pride parade. In that parade I saw every segment of the LGBT community in one place, together. I'd been living in my gay neighborhood all my life, but I never fully appreciated how diverse the community is until that point. I saw everything from the guys in suits who work on Wall Street, to the nearly naked men and women dancing on floats, to the drag queens in their over the top dresses. All marching together, proud, festive, it really was great.
The bill ultimately died in the State Senate, and in the following three years Maine stripped their citizens of equality, while Iowa became more gay friendly then New York and California.
During this period one of my closest friends came out to me as bi. She was the first person my age who I was close to who ever came out. It was a somewhat shocking, emotional moment. It made an issue that was all around me all the more personal. I might have been a steadfast supporter of LGBT rights before that, but her coming out hardened my support of equality.
Over the past couple of years more of my friends have come out as gay or lesbian. Not all of them are lucky enough to live in a Marriage Equality state. Not all of them have access to the ability to legally declare their love for their partner and share in the beautifully frustrating institution that is marriage. This is a moral abomination.
To people that say that marriage has been defined since the beginning of time as one man and one women, I say pick up a history book.
To the people who say that you need a mother and a father to raise a child, I say look at all the happy children who have come out of one parent homes. I say look at all the well adjusted, brilliant children who have come out of same-sex homes. I say look at all the dysfunctional children that have come out of "traditional" homes.
To the people who say having same-sex marriage will destroy the institution of marriage, I say it won't destroy the institution of marriage, it will expand it to all those who love one another. Marriage will be stronger when everybody can partake in it.
When Democratic Assemblyman Dov Hokind says sarcastically: "When Lady Gaga got involved and told us and said we should support gay marriage, I said, you know, Lady Gaga, she is an example of how I should lead my life and how I should behave," I get pissed off. You may disagree with her life choices Dov, but this statement reveals you to be the worst kind of politician, the one that engages in ad hominem attacks, the one that distracts from the core issue by waving a shiny object on the fringe. I get angry such idiocy is represented in the Democratic Party. People like him and the disgrace of a Democrat known as Ruban Diaz should have no place in the party.
We are one vote short of equality in New York. One vote. Senators, get on the right side of history. The great majority of New Yorkers want Marriage Equality. There are very few things that I believe have definite right answers and definite wrong answers. This is one of them.