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12/03/2009

Finding parts of the rotten apple to actually chew on

by Jeremy Hooper

- 110 out of 199 state lawmakers approved marriage equality. 24 Senators and a whopping 86 Assembly members joined the governor, New York City's Republican-ish mayor, and a whole slew of local officials in supporting equal rights.

- A Marist poll released just yesterday shows that New Yorkers statewide favor marriage equality by a 51%-42% margin (7% undecided). This is actually a big deal, since groups like NOM always cite "the people" when referring to legislative votes. If "the people" truly are what matters here, then why did the Senators, who are elected to represent THE PEOPLE, come down against marriage equality to the tune of 63%-37%?!

- The age/gender/race/religion breakdown in the Senate was considerable. Females and people of color came down on our side in markedly dissimilar ways. Many Jewish Senators spoke of the discrimination in their own heritages. And for young'uns like Sen. Daniel Squadron (aged 30), the conversation was an absolute no-brainer. These factors matter. Especially race, in this case, considering the way NOM has so disgustingly tried to play the African-American community against us in California, D.C., and New Jersey.

- The cowardice of the anti-equality Senators is simply galling. The only "no" vote to speak on the floor -- THE ONLY ONE TO SPEAK -- was heated foe Ruben Diaz. They want to take our rights away, but they lack the fortitude to tell us why?! This is not something that should only bother LGBT people -- it is a point that should bother ANY New York voter who sends their elected officials to Albany because they want them to actually have a voice!

- We now have all of the Senators (including the 8 anti-equality Dems) on record. That gives us a workable task: To remove those who have chosen to remove our basic civil rights! We now know whose feet to put to the fire. Whether that means funding their primary opponents, researching their hypocrisies, focusing on their general re-election campaigns, or whatever, we now have a mission.

- Ruben Diaz is, always will be, and undeniably should be the face, voice, and public image of this vote. And he gave us TONS of quips to highlight the sort of un-civil hogwash that the 38 anti-equality Senators supported. Like when he proudly suggested that the Bible should be the basis for a vote, comparing the need to oppose equality to the need to fight crime and disrespect for the elderly:




Or when he betrayed his own party by using the push to secure a Democratic majority to turn potentially pro-fairness Republicans against the gay community:

(comments begin at 1:46)



- Other justifications were just as ridiculous as Diaz', if not as heated. Here, consider what Tom Linbous told the New York Times:

“Certainly this is an emotional issue and an important issue for many New Yorkers,” said Senator Tom Libous, the deputy Republican leader. “I just don’t think the majority care too much about it at this time because they’re out of work, they want to see the state reduce spending, and they are having a hard time making ends meet. And I don’t mean to sound callous, but that’s true.”

Oh where to begin?! (A) As already stated, the majority are with us in NY state. (B) Everyone cares about unemployment, spending, and general way of life, LGBT or S. (C) The vote happened, independent of all other state matters. Casting a "yes" vote would have actually settled that matter once and for all! By casting a "no" along with the entire Republican coalition, Sen. Libous and crew have only prolonged the inevitable, forcing us to debate this yet again (and hopefully forcing out many of his anti-equality colleagues). (D) You don't sound "calous," Senator Libous -- you sound remarkably out-of-touch!

No wonder he and his anti-equality partners chose not to speak on the floor!! The newspaper can't push back against his quip the way a living, breathing, fair-minded Senator can!

- The idea that the vote was truly bipartisan is complete nonsense. On our side, it was 100% Dem. On their side, it was 100% dim all of the Republicans and a few wayward Ds. To call it "bipartisan" is a major stretch.

- New York gays can cross their state lines, get married, and have that marriage recognize when they return home. That's what this writer did. That's what many of us in the state have done. New York state is doing nothing more but exporting the considerable commerce attached to weddings! We need to highlight this ridiculous disconnect as often and loudly as we can!

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Your thoughts

Thank you for this. It is encouraging. I am especially happy that you noted the composition of our coalition. I'm from Massachusetts and was part of the debate here. Simply put: every single Massachusetts legislator of color as well as our African American governor were not only supporters, but leaders. It saddens me when people buy into the wedge that some folks want to put between communities of color and the gay community, because the fact is, many, many African American leaders have stepped up to the plate courageously and forcefully. We have to stop buying into blanket assumptions; they only help those who are trying to perpetuate the divide.

Posted by: Ken Harvey | Dec 3, 2009 8:45:27 AM

I've posted a video message on my YouTube channel:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LrsZk35XBeQ

"We always sing about our country being the land of the free and the home of the brave. If you don't have the courage to speak about your position, then how can we not call you a coward"

Posted by: Sean Chapin | Dec 3, 2009 10:46:00 AM

It continues to shock me whenever a senator or other political figure references the Bible while speaking about their vote/reasons to vote on something. We're based on a separation of church and state, yet we have them saying "THE BIBLE SAYS NO AND THAT'S WHY I VOTED"...

Posted by: Yuki | Dec 3, 2009 1:22:57 PM

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