Thursday’s defeat of Gay Marriage in New York hit hard. It wasn’t as bad as Proposition 8, which hit with the sting of a fresh injury, but it was bad. Proposition 8 was a vote of the people, and I think that gay marriage’s short-term future is in the courts and legislatures, not popular votes. As was the case with Civil Rights, the people cannot be trusted (and should not always be consulted) to protect the minority. Of all the popular votes taken so far in the US on the issue of same-sex marriage, not one has come out in its favor. Vermont and New Hampshire, on the other hand, have legalized it through their legislatures, and MA and CT through court cases.
The day started out auspiciously, with a triumphant email from Courage Campaign promising that “The day many New Yorkers have longed for has arrived.” Events unfolded in realtime on the internet – a twitter hashtag collated comments and reactions to the speeches, and thanks to the Open Senate team there was a live video that streamed to over 10,000 viewers! Governor Paterson was hopeful that the bill would pass, and every speech on the Senate floor but one was impassioned and in support of marriage.
Its spectacular 38-24 failure is our spectacular failure, and another shred in the mountains of proof that we don’t naturally look past our prejudices to see the humans around us, in need just like us.
In defeat, I discovered an absolutely delicious drink (thanks to Lucian and Anna, who pretty much didn’t have anything else in your cabinet at the time.) Mix Hansen’s Pomegranate Soda with Jameson, and it’s a fantastic taste combination! I call it the Sweet Defeat.
So grab a drink and watch some of these incredible Senate speeches with me, reliving Wednesday’s hope that will one day swell and create equality. Help me pray for when the ignoramuses listen to reason as eloquent and touching as this:
- My personal favorite: Eric Adams saying “You don’t have to be gay to respect that two people who meet each other and fall in love want to be married.”
- The one that is making the rounds: Diane Savino makes a great argument about what we mean when we say “sanctity of marriage” and how important of an issue it is to support.
- Thomas Duane opening discussion. Then the next day, very angry at a Union Square Rally. <– WATCH THIS ONE for some inspiration and anger. He’s great at inspiring, probably not so great at making friends.
- Eric Schneiderman says “this is very much about the essence of the United States of America.”