Monday, June 27, 2011
Extra! Extra! Read All About It
I fell asleep at my computer on Friday night. At 1:30 AM, I was awakened with cheering on the streets. I heard someone say something about gay marriage. I flipped open my laptop and hit the bookmark for the New York Times. There it was - live front page news- an all-caps, six-column headline: NEW YORK PASSES SAME-SEX MARRIAGE, BECOMING LARGEST STATE TO PASS LAW.
Wow. That really is big news. This late Friday night passing of this law is a watershed event. That evening, there was late night celebration at the Stonewall Inn at 53 Christopher Street. On Sunday, the annual Gay Pride parade was held. The timing of the passing of the same-sex marriage law with the annual parade was perfect - the march became a celebration of this historic event for the gay community. Paraders held signs proclaiming "Thanks Governor Cuomo," "Promise Kept," "Marriage Now," "I DO support marriage equality," and "Our Next March Down the Aisle."
An opinion piece from the New York Times says:
New York State has made a powerful and principled choice by giving all couples the right to wed and enjoy the legal rights of marriage. It is a proud moment for New Yorkers, thousands of whom took to the streets on Sunday to celebrate this step forward. But this moment does not erase the bigotry against gays and lesbians enshrined in the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which denies federal recognition of same-sex marriages and allows any state to refuse to recognize another state’s unions.
There are many gay couples who have long term committed relationships. They have, however, had to settle for living in the margins and alcoves of society. I have had family members, employees and friends who were gay, as I am sure many of you have. Most speak of the tremendous stress and pressure of living a lifestyle which requires secrecy and obfuscation. Even in New York City, complete openness about being gay is limited to times and places. You will only on rare occasion see gay couples walking hand in hand. And there still is opposition to gay marriage. Most major religious institutions do not sanction homosexuality.
Same-sex marriage is legally recognized nationwide in 10 countries: Argentina, Belgium, Canada, Iceland, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, and Sweden. In the United States, couples can marry in six states (Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, New York) and Washington, DC.
The New York State Marriage Equality Act became law on June 24, 2011 and will take effect in 30 days - July 24. The New York law has no residency requirement. New York also recognizes same-sex marriages performed in other states and countries where same-sex marriage is legal.
There is a business side to this also. According to Bloomberg News:
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg plans to unveil a campaign to sell the most populous U.S. city as a gay-wedding destination after thousands marched to celebrate the state’s legalization of such marriages. The “NYC I Do” campaign “will create millions of dollars in additional economic impact to the city’s $31 billion tourism industry,” Kimberly Spell, a spokeswoman for New York & Company, the city’s marketing office, said yesterday in an email. Bloomberg will unveil more details in coming days, she said.
On Friday night, June 24, 2011, it certainly was Extra! Extra! Read All About It.
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