I am excited as a heterosexual Scandinavian person can be about what happened in New York over the weekend. Herewith a few more scattered thoughts.
1. In my last post, I quoted two of the four New York Republican state senators who voted for marriage equality, thereby giving short shrift to the other two--Mark Grisanti, from Buffalo, and Stephen Saland, from Poughkeepsie. Grisanti's floor speech, announcing his intention to vote Yes, may be viewed here. Money quote: "I cannot deny a person, a human being, a taxpayer, a worker, the people of my district and across this state, the State of New York, and those people who make this the great state that it is the same rights that I have with my wife." The quietest of the four was Saland, but he may have been the most heroic. With two Republicans committed, the bill needed one more Republican vote to pass. Both Grisanti and Saland informed Governor Cuomo that they were prepared to vote Yes but were reluctant to be the decisive 32nd vote. Cuomo privately told each of them that there was another Republican vote, so that neither of them would be the single fall guy. When Grisanti wavered, Cuomo told Saland that he could no longer guarantee him that his Yes vote would not be the one that passed the bill. I'll let the Times pick up the story:
Reluctantly, Mr Cuomo said he would understand if Mr Saland backed out of his commitment to vote yes.
Mr Saland said he needed to think it over. After hours of anxious waiting, Mr Cuomo heard back. If the governor needed him to be the 32nd vote, Mr Saland told Mr Cuomo, he would be the 32nd vote.
"I will be there for you," Mr Saland said.
And he was. On Friday, both Mr Saland and Mr Grisanti voted for the marriage bill--neither of them officially being the 32nd.
2. The people who change their minds on this question all move from "opposed" to "support." There is no movement in the other direction. Grisanti, noting in his floor speech that he had campaigned against gay marriage, said, "A man can be wiser today than yesterday." David Frum's account of his conversion is here; he says that "the case against gay marriage has been tested against reality"--and reality won. Margaret Talbot describes the general phenomenon, which makes me think it's not just wishful thinking to suppose that marriage equality will prevail.
3. Does the whole debate expose a fissure in the Republican party? There are the rich guys, who want to keep all their money but don't much care if the gays marry each other. Plus, they think their daughters should be able to have abortions. Then there are the Christianists. Many of them are so moralistic they virtually forgot to earn a living. The rich and the upright need each other to have any chance of winning elections, and the prospect of them divorcing is pleasant to contemplate. But now I probably am indulging in wishful thinking.
4. James Wolcott demonstrates why he is on my Blog Roll. Here is the link. Here is the whole post:O Frabjous Day In a stunning, overdue setback to the drag-ass forces of chicken-cluck reaction represented by Donald Trump, Ann Coulter, Maggie Gallagher, Darleen Click, Kathryn Jean Lopez, and Rick Perry's smirking hair, the New York Assembly has legalized gay marriage, one of the rare unambiguous bits of good news to fall from orbit recently.
It is a victory for fairness, equality, tolerance, enlightenment, conscience and integrity (exemplified by those Republicans who voted for the bill, knowing that the flak will be pocking their reelection bids from irate conservatives), Governor Andrew Cuomo (let's run him in 2016), Lady Gaga, and, of course, wedding planners.
Now Rick Santorum and Glenn Beck are free to drop the pretense and teasing and gay-marry, and, after the honeymoon cruise, serpent-kiss each other on the couch as they discuss "raising the debt ceiling," an obvious double entendre.