Marriage no longer just black and white, but rainbow



Manhattan’s Lower West Side was alive with energy Friday night. Just before midnight, a Republican-led state Senate approved a bill permitting same-sex marriage in New York, marking a turning point in the lengthy debate over the definition of marriage. The elation was palpable in the Greenwich Village streets as people danced, kissed, screamed and cried because a promise of equality had finally been fulfilled.

The bill, proposed by New York Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo, was supported by progressive leaders of all sexual orientations. Yet, it was Republican Sen. Roy McDonald’s unlikely words that skirted the same-sex marriage proposition from a political and religious debate to an issue of basic human rights.

According to the New York Post, McDonald told the press in a response to pressures from the Conservative party, religious leaders and anti-gay groups to vote against the bill, “You get to the point where you evolve in your life. Where everything isn’t black and white, good and bad, and you try to do the right thing. You might not like that. You might be very cynical about that. Well, f*** it; I don’t care what you think. I’m trying to do the right thing.”

I typically don’t take keenly to any Republican’s government stance, but as New York becomes the sixth, most populous state to allow gays and lesbians to wed, the right thing has been done.

Homosexuals have been oppressed and scrutinized for centuries, trapped within a figurative closet, burdened with a shameful and derogatory stigma due to their sexual preference, once considered a mental disorder. The repression is at last exonerated in New York.

The bill is not perfect, sullied with special stipulations for homosexual marriages. Provisions spawned by Republicans allow tax-exempt groups to deny marrying homosexual couples or to use their buildings or services for wedding ceremonies or receptions. Although flawed with imbalanced language and particular provisions, the bill serves as giant leap towards civil equality.

For some, the desire to wed stems from a greedy lust for wealth and property transfers, but in this circumstance it is merely love, and the freedom to love, that reigns. I watched as two elderly women marched the streets hand-in-hand during Sunday’s Gay Pride Parade, their years of unaccounted love no longer dismissed. Two male teenagers followed behind them, lovers free to express their love with the sanctity of marriage. Rainbow flags waved triumphantly from the buildings and music wafted through the streets as lesbians, gays, transgenders and heterosexuals of all ages, races and classes united in celebration. And in a city with the esteem to spread cultural and social trends, I can only hope the rest of the world will do the right thing.

More than three dozen states still define marriage as between a man and woman only. The time for nationwide change is now. As the 2012 elections approach, we must push gay rights as a fundamental political issue, supporting candidates who take a strong stance for same-sex marriage. It is time to redefine marriage; it is time to guarantee liberty and justice for all.