Friday’s vote to legalize same-sex marriage in New York State was narrow, 33 to 29. It comes 42 years after the genesis of the gay rights movement in June 1969 at the Stonewall Inn, a bar in the West Village in New York City.
California, long touted to be a progressive state may now only seem so in comparison to Bible Belt states.
Bill Maher said on, “Somehow bigotry won out here, even in liberal California. We voted to outlaw gay marriage. … But I have to stand with the gays on this. Gay people, I think, have every right to insist that they will not be happy until they’re allowed to be miserable.”
As with everything in life, there can be no good unless it is accompanied with a measure of bad. To find the bad in things, I’ve heard, is easy; to find the good is what is supposed to be difficult.
A friend, I’ll call her Kate, told me of her parents’ separation after she and her sister reached adulthood. Her father went to live with his male partner leaving her mother alone and confused. Kate didn’t seem troubled by the event but rather relieved that her father was finally happy.
“He is glowing,” she said.
A question jumped in my mind after learning of the law’s passing in N.Y.: what if this law had been on the books before Kate was born and her father had married his now-partner and not her mother? Sure, gays can adopt and donate their sperm but I’m convinced there would be no Kate.
Kate is a definite benefit to the world. We don’t have to take the word of her four kids or the many parents who thanked her for giving care day-in-day-out to their premature babies when she was a neonatal intensive care unit nurse. She has touched many lives with her devotion to doing the Christian duty.
If the entire issue were limited to whether Kate would exist or not, I would have no trouble forcing her father, gay or not, to marry her mother and make babies until a Kate came out. But the reality is that the happiness and rights of so many are what is at stake. No matter how nature connected the internal wiring that makes us swing one way or the other, we all have the same rights. We have the right to choose how best to live our lives, not the government or religion.
As far as the Catholic Church is concerned, Kate’s father, me and countless others are still married to a previous partner because we have either not requested or been granted an annulment. My current wife would beg to differ with the pope on this matter. The New York Times reported that New York’s Catholic bishops said “The passage by the Legislature of a bill to alter radically and forever humanity’s historic understanding of marriage leaves us deeply disappointed and troubled.”
We have to accept that the main reason we are here is because there has been change in the past and that we will not be here in the future if we cannot adapt to change.
While I probably would not have joined the crowd at Sheridan Square, outside the Stonewall Inn to celebrate (it would anger my wife), I congratulate them on their victory, and applaud the lawmakers who took a courageous step in the direction of change; for better or for worse.
For those who are opposed to this change on the grounds that it somehow reduces the value of a church-sanctioned traditional marriage I recommend they evaluate their marriage in 30 days (when same-sex marriages will begin in NY) and see if it is worth any less. For those who feel they don’t have a horse in the race and have stood idly by letting the discourse occur without taking a position, I remind you life is a web that links us all. To those who have fought arduously for this change, I salute you and hope you will take a look at the long list of other changes in the inequity department that need to be addressed.
If we are to risk not having unhappily married gay men sow their seed to sprout future Kates, it is indeed a sad trade-off. However, we can look forward to these same-sex couples adopting and caring for the many children we heterosexuals have made and abandoned to their fate.