I watched along with thousands of others as the long legislative process came to an end tonight with the 33-29 vote for marriage equality in the New York State Senate. When I logged into the live-stream there were about 8,000 viewers. By the time we got to the roll call the numbers had grown to over 47,000.
Arguably my favorite moment was when Senator Grisanti rose to say, ""I struggled with the word marriage but I also struggled with the rights of gay and lesbian couples. It boils down to a person can be wiser today than he was yesterday -- and I can't deny others the rights my wife and I enjoy."
This from a Buffalo NY Republican who ran for office on an anti-marriage equality platform. Remember that the next time someone says we're wasting our time. That hearts can't move and minds won't change. Just "Wow."
Arguably my least favorite was watching legislators bend over backwards to describe and applaud the "religious exemption" amendments to the bill that ultimately made its passage possible. As person of faith it pains me that in order to get civil marriage equality we have to pander to religious bigotry. And yet as a person of politics I recognize the art of compromise in action when I see it.
I know that we gained infinitely more than we gave and at the end of the day it will be up to those of us who proclaim the Good News of God's inclusive love to do a better, louder and more proactive job of that in order to undo the perception that faith and homophobia are mutually inclusive.
Here's a start ... from the Integrity press release -- New York Says "I Do" to Marriage Equality:
Integrity is committed to the work of justice and inclusion and looks forward to the time when same-sex relationships are equally protected by our Constitution and equally blessed by our Church. But today we pause to give thanks for another step forward and offer our prayers of thanksgiving to all who’ve labored so hard to achieve this victory for justice, love and compassion.And I liked this quote from HRC's Joe Salmonese in the email that came a few hours after the vote:
You and I both know we won't win every fight along the way. But even the most heartbreaking losses are only temporary detours on the path to full equality. When we stand together, fight smart, and refuse to give up on a dream, we will get there in the end – just as we have in New York.That about covers it. Amen.