Sunday, June 26, 2011

Victory for gays in New York

A few weeks ago, I felt compelled to seek out a GLBT activist in NYC - I wanted to do something - anything - to help forward the case for gay marriage.

I was sent to a call center operated by the SEIU - a union outfit - in order to call registered Democrats to ask them to reach out to their senators and encourage them to vote on the gay marriage initiative currently before them.

As is typical for NYers, I received many gruff, short and mostly offended responses - that was a private matter and I had no business asking them whether they supported gay marriage. Every now and again - say every ten phone calls, I found someone who was not only willing to support the initiative, but would also call their senator asking them to vote yes.

On one such evening during my few weeks on the phones, the room went quiet and we were asked to get off the phones and wrap up our calls quickly. I was amazed to look up and see Ms. Chelsea Clinton appear wearing an equality tee shirt. She spoke eloquently and intelligently - just as her parents - on the issue of gay marriage. Indeed, her father, Bill had spoken out in favor of gay marriage that very day. Chelsea spoke of her own marriage last year and spoke movingly about how she could not comprehend being married to her best friend.

They said it couldn't be done and I am not aware of all the deals made with religious organizations, protecting them from having to perform - gasp - same sex marriages - in the late hours of Friday evening, the news came to my mobile phone via text sent by the HRC. I did not get the news until Saturday - as fate would have it, I had stayed in the city until late on Friday having drinks with a couple of friends. Had I known that the vote was going to come at eleven p.m., I would have left the Financial District and taken the subway to the Village where a massive celebration was underway.

NY is now the 6th state in the union to offer gay marriage. Some with whom I have spoken have shared that while they oppose gay marriage, they believe that gays should have rights in the form of civil unions.

That is like saying slaves could jump the broom while remaining property of their masters - since when are we a nation of second class citizens? This is America where we are guaranteed "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" is it not?

Brown v Board, Jim Crow, Loving v Virginia - are you recognizing a trend here? Some 51% of adults polled nationally according to CNN, are in support of gay marriage.

Change is coming - this is a civil rights issue - gays are not all asking to be married in churches - they simply want the same rights that you and I have as straight people.

I welcome the change!

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