This is a huge moment. This is a huge night.
I am so proud to be a New Yorker today.
We shouldn't need a legislature to affirm rights that are intrinsic to our adult humanity. In a perfect world, we'd just have those rights. But it's not a perfect world, and we do need legislatures, or voters, or what have you. In this case, we have a legislative body, and they have done the right thing. That's all there is to it.
I was watching the live feed from the senate floor. I watched as they voted to approve a carefully-worded amendment protecting religious institutions and their non-profit affiliates and individuals working for them from civil or other legal actions. The viewer numbers at that point were about 36,000 - up from around 4,000 when the link to the live feed was passed around Twitter about two hours before.
Then I watched the numbers climb to about 39,000 as Senator Diaz, one of the Democrats voting no, bloviated about Archbishop Timothy Dolan's opinion about gay marriage (something Dolan's been sure gets into the press the last few weeks), and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' take on gay marriage (guess), despite the fact that Diaz himself is not Catholic (in fact, he's a minister in a protestant church). And as the president of the state senate moved to cut him off, and to not allow him to interrupt fellow senators, Senator Diaz rebuked the senate's president for curtailing his rights. For curtailing his rights to speak about the bill. Yes, you read that right. Senator Diaz complained about an abbreviation of his right to speak against this bill, after he'd gone over his own two-minute limit, when certainly not every senator who voted yea or nay was getting mic time tonight.
Senator Diaz wanted his rights.
Well, Senator Duane, who spoke after Senator Diaz, gets his rights now. Senator Duane, who also went over the two-minute limit, was also curtailed by the senate's president. But, see, Senator Duane gets a different right. Well, technically, the same right. The same right as Senator Diaz, who has been married and divorced only on his own adult say. Senator Duane, New York state's first openly gay and openly HIV-positive member, can now marry his partner Louis (or possibly Lewis? I only heard it, didn't read it) if they choose. Or not. You know, as they choose. Since it's their choice. And since it's their right. And since this state acknowledges that right now.
The viewer numbers on the official senate page were around 49,000 as the New York State Senate roll call officially passed this bill in that chamber. All that remains is for Gov. Cuomo, who championed this version of the bill, to sign it.
I <3 NY