Sunday, July 24, 2011

NYC Makes History Today

Today is the day when the rubber hits the road. 

Today is the day when dreams become reality.

Today is the day when our city becomes a little freer and a little more fair.

Today is the wedding day for a lot of New Yorkers.

For today in New York, marriage equality becomes legal.

It's hard to believe that only twenty some-odd years ago, it was virtually impossible to pass any kind of anti-discrimination or partner-benefits bill through any kind of legislative body. If you ever saw Tony Kushner's Angels in America (set in NYC in 1985), the closeted Roy Cohn makes this, now happily outdated rant about what it means to be labeled a homosexual in America: 

"Like all labels they tell you one thing, and one thing only: Where does an individual so identified fit into the food chain, the pecking order? Not ideology or sexual taste, but something much simpler: clout. Not who I fuck or who fucks me, but who will come to the phone when I call, who owes me favors. This is what a label refers to. Now to someone who does not understand this, a homosexual is what I am because I have sex with men, but really this is wrong. A homosexual is somebody who, in 15 years of trying cannot get a pissant anti-discrimination bill through the city council. A homosexual is somebody who knows nobody and who nobody knows. Who has zero clout."

And that's what marriage equality was and is really all about. Who has the power? For years, decades, centuries, the power lay in the hands of those who wanted to deny larges swaths of people their full civil rights and their full human dignity. And as the vicious battle and close vote to legalize marriage equality shows, there are still lots and lots of people who want to deny people their full civil rights and human dignity. So while, like many New Yorkers, I celebrate this historic day where gay New Yorkers can now love and marry like the rest of us, let's not forget: there are still lots of people out there who want to strip them of their rights and dignity, who want to go back to the bad old days. 

The price of liberty is eternal vigilance so let's never stop the fight. But for today, NYC, let's celebrate!

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