gAy mArRiAgE pAsSeD iN nEw YoRk CiTy!!!
I know I’m really late to weigh in on this — but I like to think that it’s never too late to say congrats to my gays. It took a lot of deliberation, a lot of late nights, and a LOT of delays but finally the New York State Legislature passed gay marriage in New York and I’m ecstatic — and then shortly thereafter enraged that California is still lagging behind in it’s intolerance and stupidity. But we’ll get there. Eventually.
In honor of New York’s welcomed step into the 21st century, I took a walk down Christopher Street — the birthplace of the gay rights movement. First off, I’d like to say, New York is the coolest place ever — have I mentioned that yet? New York is the coolest place ever. But as lively and cutting-edge as the Village is now, I can only imagine what it was like in the 50s and
when it was consumed by the beat generation — when people like Allen Ginsburg and Charlie Parker roamed the moonlit streets, strung out on heroin, jazz and the rhythmic vibrations of poetry. The streets probably hummed with the energy of the art created and art that that was only just an idea flung about in a pot circle. I have a feeling that the recession hit the Village hard, because despite all the color and noise you can still see when you walk the streets at 3 am, for every club packed and spilling over, there are two more buildings that are only filled with memories and cardboard boxes.
Don’t get me wrong, though, the place is still awesome. And as I walked down Christopher Street and past the Stonewall Inn, I felt like I was a part of this thing that happened long before I was born. I stood in front of the Stonewall Inn and tried to imagine the energy and the humidity in that packed, little space
on that early, early June morning in 1969 when homophobic tensions finally reached their zenith and resulted in what will forever be remembered at the Stonewall Riots — the beginning of the gay rights movement. Police barged in that night to arrest all the men dressed as women, but to the policemen’s dismay, the bar’s patrons were not ready to go without a fight. It marked one of the first times gays stood up for their identity, saying enough was enough.
Michael Fader, a bar-goer that night, said, “We all had a collective feeling like we’d had enough of this kind of shit. It wasn’t anything tangible anybody said to anyone else, it was just kind of like everything over the years had come to a head on that one particular night in the one particular place … Everyone in the crowd felt that we were never going to go back. It was like the last straw. It was time to reclaim something that had always been taken from us…. All kinds of people, all different reasons, but mostly it was total outrage, anger, sorrow,everything combined, and everything just kind of ran its course. … And we felt that we had freedom at last, or freedom to at least show that we demanded freedom. We
weren’t going to be walking meekly in the night and letting them shove us around—it’s like standing your ground for the first time and in a really strong way, and that’s what caught the police by surprise. There was something in the air, freedom a long time overdue, and we’re going to fight for it. It took different forms, but the bottom line was, we weren’t going to go away. And we didn’t.”
I know that it is only a matter of time in this country before gay marriage is not only allowed in every single goddamned state, but it is looked upon as no different than any other marriage that has ever occurred. One day, we’ll all look back on this time and think to ourselves, “What were we thinking? What took us so long to come to our senses?” Like slavery, discrimination and segregation, our bans of gay marriage will be looked upon as a dark mark on our nation’s history, and a tarnish upon our reputation for allowing everyone their basic right to pursue happiness. On July 30, free gay marriages will be performed all day in Central Park, because, legally, that is the first day that they’re allowed to take place. I know I’ll be down there with a camera and a smile, just wanting to be a part of the happiness all around me. Eventually, that kind of happiness will be prevalent all around the country, but until then, I’ll just have to remain content with the fact that New York has finally come to its senses.