Celebrating late into the night, thousands of gay marriage supporters poured into the streets after New York became the sixth and largest state in the U.S. to legalize gay marriage.A few thoughts:
After days of contentious negotiations and last-minute reversals by two Republican state senators, the bill was passed, breathing life into the national gay rights movement that had stalled over a nearly-identical bill here two years ago.
Pending any court challenges, legal gay marriages can begin in New York by late July after Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed his bill into law just before midnight Friday.
- If we're going to have gay marriage, this is how it should come about. The legislature debated the matter, passed the bill and the governor signed it into law. That's a hell of a lot more legitimate than having gay marriage imposed through judicial fiat. And because New York has chosen this path, I would oppose any court challenges to the new law. Opponents of the new law have the job of electing legislators and a governor who will overturn it.
- We can argue about the meaning of the word marriage forever, but it's clear that the meaning has been changing, and changing rapidly, over the past few years. Our friend Night Writer has proffered the idea that those who still believe in the notion of traditional marriage choose another word, matrimony, to denote what we mean by traditional marriage. That idea seems wiser by the moment.
- I don't think there are really that many people who are interested in denying gays the opportunity to form whatever unions they would like to form. That's never really been the point of the argument, at least from this corner. The main reason conservatives have opposed gay marriage is that they value the importance of traditional marriage, especially its central role in providing a stable, nurturing evironment for the upbringing of children. That role has been under attack for a lot longer than the notion of gay marriage as been around. We've been undermining traditional marriage for a long time now.
- Getting married is easy. Marriage isn't. Romantic love will not sustain a marriage. Having the right to marry won't make most gay people any happier.
Republican State Senator Stephen Saland was one of the last to support the same-sex marriage bill. A self-proclaimed traditionalist, he said he agonized over the decision: "I have defined doing the right thing as treating all persons with equality, and that equality includes the definition of marriage, and I fear that to do otherwise would fly in the face of my upbringing."This is nonsense, of course. But that's another post.