Activism

New York State Votes For Equality!

The Enough Republicans finally told their Religious Right lobby to go to hell and voted to allow same-sex couples to enjoy the same benefits of marriage that the straights have been wasting for years. They are the first majority Republican Senate to pass such a bill.

No links at the moment because I only just saw it happen on the TV, but Twitter’s going appropriately nutso.

Grisanti was the deciding vote: “I cannot deny a person, a human being … the same rights I have with my wife. … I vote in the affirmative.”

Rebecca Watson

Rebecca leads a team of skeptical female activists at Skepchick.org. She travels around the world delivering entertaining talks on science, atheism, feminism, and skepticism. There is currently an asteroid orbiting the sun with her name on it. You can follow her every fascinating move on Twitter or on Google+.

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25 Comments

  1. Certainly a victory for equality. However, I believe your first line to be misleading as it implies all the Republican voted in favor of this bill. Thankfully, some of them did. However, the Republicans as a whole did not tell the Religious Right to go to hell.

  2. Latest news is the governor has signed it. And I’m happy to see it was done through the legislative process, and not through the courts. (I mean it shouldn’t have to have been done at all, but you know what I mean). I just wish we could get it done that way in Cali.

    1. I personally don’t see why one would find the legislative process superior to the judicial one when it comes to enshrining rights. The purpose of the courts and judicial review is precisely to protect the constitutional rights of the people regardless of their political power, without requiring the “by your leave” of the ruling government.

      To me the difference really boils down to a choice between “we the powers that be bestow upon you this gift because it is politically popular and/or convenient” and “we the court recognise this right is already yours because the Constitution affirms your rights and dignity as fully equal human beings, and no legislative body has the power to say otherwise.”

      Yes, the fact that these measures can pass legislatures is good and a sign of the progress the equality movement has made in mainstream American culture. Nonetheless, persecuted minorities do not deserve their rights and protections on the basis of their ability to sway votes–they deserve them because they are entitled to equal protection under the law.

      1. While I agree that legal challenges to inequality are likely to be strongest, in this case, the more states that legislatively enshrine the right of marriage for all strengthens the legal case. I’ve long thought that the best “legalistic” argument (as opposed to the “be a freaking human being” arguments in the USA is probably the fact that states are obligated to recognize legal contracts entered into in other states. This includes marriage. I’m just waiting for the legal challenges when someone married in a “same-sex” state moves to one without, and challenges the lack of recognition. It basically has to be granted, or the foundations of interstate law and commerce crap out.

        That’s the general gist of things, at least as far as my understanding goes, and I am a decided amateur. Anyone please feel free to correct me on this.

        1. We have to wait for DOMA to disappear before that can happen. Its very purpose is, after all, to exempt same-sex marriage from the full faith and credit clause that applies to all other state laws and contracts.

          1. That’s right, but also even if DOMA is repealed, states can continue to not recognize such marriages if they violate the state’s “strong public policy” against such marriages, although there would be a fight. See generally, Lynn D. Wardle, Who Decides? The Federal Architecture of DOMA and Comparative Marriage Recognition, 41 Cal. W. Int’l L.J. 143 (Fall, 2010).

      2. All very well and good, but passing it through the legislature is a sign that more people are finally recognizing equal rights, as opposed to “having it forced down our throats by progressive jurists”.

        And ‘recognizing’ is the peoper term. The same people who have been opposing them will soon be saying they ‘granted’ homosexuals equal rights.

        1. As I said, the popular progress is a good thing. But framing the issue as something that can or should be decided by the electorate (and their representatives) is exactly what enables travesties like Calif. Prop 8.

  3. This is great news! We (in Europe) are so used to here about fundamentalist Christians in the U.S. that we sometimes forget that you also have smart people.

    Congratulations from Portugal! :)

  4. I think part of this victory is a result of more rational discussion about the issue and less name calling from both sides. None of the horrible things that were predicted by those opposed to same sex marriage rights has happened in those states where this legislation has passed and that simple piece of evidence has changed much of the discussion. That and the children of conservative legislators watching Glee and pressuring their parents.

  5. It’s been a fun day. Woke up and saw it all over twitter, and promptly checked facebook to see how many of my friends got engaged today. Right now the count is two couples, and one has already registered at Cartier. I expect a boost to NY’s economy as wedding planners everywhere get swamped with business.

  6. Marriage equality and/or gay marriage passed the weekend before the 42nd aniversary of the Stonewall riots, which, in effect, started the GLBT movement. This is OBVIOUSLY an act of Intelligent Design! I expect a press release from the Discovery Institute any moment now!

  7. I wish I could get happy about this, but my rational side wants to know why this is such a big deal? It’s like they’ve thrown us scraps and we’re convinced it’s a five-course meal. Until the Federal government recognizes these marriages, they’re meaningless. I have a domestic partnership, and it gives me the same rights that New Yorkers will have with their fake marriages; but all it’s really done is create a huge tax nightmare for us (three separate tax forms, and inability to e-file, for instance).

  8. I’m happy for my friends in New York who want to get married. I am. I think it’s a great step in the right direction. I’m not happy with the New York State Senate, though, because they once again killed GENDA shortly after passing marriage equality. Personally, as a trans person, I’d like job protections before I get married, but that’s just me. (source: http://www.nydailynews.com/blogs/dailypolitics/2010/06/conservative-party-on-so-calle.html)

  9. As a gay and and a atheist/skeptic/humanist I’m not for gay marriage. All we are doing is continue to support an archaic practice that has too many connections to religion.

    Full legal recognition for same-sex (and straight) partnerships would be a better thing to fight for. It should also remove the religious from the debate.

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