Being the sixth and largest state to legalize gay marriage, New York has had thousands of gay marriage supporters celebrating after the same-sex marriage bill passed in Albany on June 24, 2011.
Two years ago when the Senate was controlled by the Democrats, the same-sex marriage bill was quickly rejected. With the Republicans now in control, it seemed unlikely that the bill would be passed this time.
Some may point fingers and blame, while others may applaud the four Republican senators (Jim Alesi, Roy McDonald, Mark Grisanti and Steve Saland) who voted in favor of gay marriage when they had previously told voters in their campaigns they opposed the concept of homosexual marriage. By passing such a bill, the decision may have cost Republicans a seat in the Senate when it comes to re-election. However, according to Brian Eller, the chief strategist on the marriage bill from the Human Rights Campaign, “No Republican lawmaker who voted yes on same-sex marriage has ever lost re-election for that vote.” Gay marriage activists are striving to keep this statement true.
I have no shame in saying I like to hang out in the LGBTQ center at BC. When I walk through the door, people greet me with smiles and interesting stories. However, the first time I entered the center, I was a bit uncomfortable. Two guys were hugging each other a bit more than I was used to seeing; jars and baskets of condoms were scattered throughout the room.
After hanging out in the center for a few weeks, I became good friends with the people there. It saddens me because they have to fight for the basic rights that they should be granted just by living in this country.
Now, let’s picture a world without marriage where people may be in serious relationships but nothing more. You know what this is asking for? A world with more sex and less commitment. When you marry, you think of that person as someone you want to spend the rest of your life and grow old with. Marriage is both a legal and social bond. Plus, studies show that couples are generally happier, healthier, and wealthier when they are married. The government can try to compromise by allowing homosexual couples to enter in civil unions, but really? Think of that word: civil union. Being in a civil union almost sounds degrading when you compare it to being in a marriage.
As a little girl, I dreamt about a wedding and that magical day I would finally marry the guy of my dreams. Homosexual couples do not get to enjoy this wonderful ceremony. They may be able to have a reception following a civil union, but a civil union and marriage is not the same thing.
One of my friends from LGBTQ is dedicated to his boyfriend. He says that he would like to marry, but the barrier against homosexual marriage is frustrating. He already has participated in many political protests and has invited me to join him.
And it is one thing to hear stories on the news, but some of my friends actually knew people who had committed suicide because they had been harassed or brainwashed at camps to believe that since they were gay, they did not deserve to live on this earth. It’s horrible that people are treated this way because one’s sexual orientation should not factor into how they are treated by others.
I am one of the many who applauds New York for passing the bill. I want my friends to have the same rights that I will have. By the end of July, gay couples will be allowed to marry in New York.