New York Legalizes Same-Sex Marriage
Last night, on a 33–29 vote, the New York State Senate approved a bill allowing same-sex marriage in New York State. Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the bill into law late Friday evening in his office.
On a personal note, it has been an amazing journey for me to see how public and private perceptions of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered (LGBT) people has changed, just in the time since I was a boy. My father was a huge fan of Kinsey, Pomeroy and Martin’s classic treatise, Sexual Behavior in the Human Male (and its companion Sexual Behavior in the Human Female). The “Kinsey Reports”, as they were called, marked a turning point in what could be considered “normal” sexuality.
Still, negative attitudes toward LGBT people persisted. On Friday night, June 27, 1969, New York City Police Department raided a seedy, Mafia-owned joint called the Stonewall Inn at 53 Christopher Street, as they had done regularly, dozens of times before. This time, however, the bar’s regulars fought back, and the fighting spilled into the streets of Greenwich Village, lasting four days in an incident now known as the Stonewall Riots.
Meanwhile, my best friends in junior high school were gay, but I did not know it at the time. We watched movies together in gym class where there was an open association made between gay men and pedophilia. No one thought anything of it.
In the early 1970s, it was unusual to the point of stares and catcalls for us to see same-sex couples on the street expressing even the most minor forms of affection, such as hand-holding. In 1973, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) finally removed homosexuality as a mental disorder from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual. In 1974, the APA had done a complete flip, calling homosexuality “a normal form of sexual life”.
Now same-sex couples can marry in New York State, starting July 24. There is no residency requirement for New York marriages, so the state expects a new wave of “marriage tourism”. The Earth will keep turning on its axis. Debt and spending and a lousy economy will still be the focus of our government’s attention. Soldiers, including LGBT soldiers, will fight and die in wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Everything will go on as it has before, except that now, millions of same-sex couples will be allowed to express their undying love for one another in the way people have for centuries: by getting married.
It remains to be seen how the existence of same-sex marriage in so many U.S. states can be squared with Article IV, Section 1 of the U.S. Constitution, the “full faith and credit clause”. Would Logarchism readers care to speculate on how this, or other related controversies, might play out?
- History at the Stonewall Inn (bilerico.com)
- New York Marriage Equality News Roundup (towleroad.com)
- New York Legalizes Same-Sex Marriages (lawprofessors.typepad.com)