Keeping Families Together
The Asian And Pacific Islander Family Pride Blog
June 24, 2011
If Our Son Moves Across The River, He Can Get Married
By BELINDA AND JOHN DRONKERS-LAURETA
If It Can Make It There, It’ll Make It Anywhere!
We had something else in mind to write about, but like everyone else we were blown away by the news that New York passed the bill allowing same sex marriage. This is big! The state where the LGBT movement began 32 years ago, provided yet another major milestone to measure progress. Even though New York is only the sixth state to allow same sex marriage, its population size almost doubles the number of LGBT people who can now marry in America. The Williams Institute estimates that the new law affects 42,000 New York State residents who are raising 14,000 children.
Stories Behind The Bill
The stories behind the bill’s passing are as fascinating as the passing itself. Two years ago a similar bill failed to pass. Republican Senator James Alesi then disappointed democrats by voting No. This time he voted Yes and apologized to his fellow Senator Thomas Duane, New York’s first openly gay senator, for failing to do so before.
We think the best story is the one about Senator Grisante, a Republican senator who ran for office pledging to oppose gay marriage. He changed his mind and voted yes. His quote is simple but profound:
I apologize for those who feel offended. I cannot deny a person, a human being, a taxpayer, a worker, the people of my district and across this state, the State of New York, and those people who make this the great state that it is the same rights that I have with my wife.”
This bill could not have passed without strong support from Governor Cuomo who made same sex marriage a keystone of his election campaign. He stayed at he center of things calling, cajoling, and privately meeting with lawmakers. Goes to show that passing a bill, even a good and just bill, requires political savvy and parliamentary craftsmanship, we think that sometimes that is what is needed most. Governor Cuomo said: “We reached a new level of social justice.” Amen!
Celebrate And Rejoice, But Then Become Vigilant Again
A 33-29 vote is enough to pass, but barely enough to give us that warm fuzzy feeling. New York’s GOP is a formidable conservative force and it threatened to remove from the conservative line any Republican voting Yes. Of course, religion is against it. The only Democrat who voted NO is ordained Pentecostal minister Senator Ruben Diaz. New York’s Archbishop, Timothy Dolan said: “God, not Albany, has settled the definition of marriage, a long time ago.” Scary stuff; whatever happened to the separation of state and church?
We in California know what can happen. The National Organization for Marriage vowed to spend $1 million in New York to ensure that all those who voted Yes would be defeated in the next election. Those folks also point out that in all the states where this issue was put before the voters, 31 states so far, “marriage was protected,” at least their definition of it.
But For Now We Are Happy
We have gained a great victory and slowly the tide is turning in our favor. Nationwide polls show that 55 to 58 per cent of people poled approve of same sex marriage. Regardless of what lays ahead, this train has left the station.
Belinda and John Dronkers-Laureta are board members of Asian & Pacific Islander Family Pride www.apifamilypride.org