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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

New York legislative decision refuels same-sex marriage debate

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a bill into law on June 24 that will allow same-sex marriage in the state of New York. The law, which will take effect on July 24, required timely Republican support to pass the Legislature by a slim margin of 33-29. In an incredible act of bipartisanship, social awareness and compassion, Republican state Sen. Mark Grisanti and Sen. Stephen M. Saland provided the final two votes necessary to make New York the largest state to legalize same-sex marriage.

Now that New York has joined Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont as the only six states to allow the marriage of gay and lesbian couples, everybody is holding their breath for the backlash. Four Republicans supported the bill, and those four are certainly sitting on a hot seat. Almost immediately after the bill was signed, money was being raised to defeat Republican supporters in their next campaigns. The National Organization for Marriage, an advocacy group that aims to protect “”marriage and the faith communities that sustain it,”” pledged to raise $2 million to defeat the Republicans that supported the same-sex marriage legislation.  

In fact, so many feared retribution in the Republican Party that they requested political protection in exchange for supporting the gay marriage bill. New York Sen. Greg Ball requested assurances that he would have big-name Republican leaders from across the nation come support him in his re-election campaign. Ball went as far as demanding a guarantee that former Vice President Dick Cheney would stump for him in his next election campaign. Ultimately, a starry-eyed request such as that couldn’t be promised.  

Nonetheless, it is not the backlash that needs to be highlighted. Rather, we need to highlight the incredible achievement of the Legislature. This historic victory is one not only for the LGBT community in New York, but also across the country.  With the California repeal of 2008, the same-sex marriage movement was stalled, shocked and saddened.  Now though, there is a reason for rejoice.  

What happened in New York is a sign of hope, understanding and arguably a true indication of political progress.  With the fierce battles between political parties, it is genuinely refreshing to see partnership for a greater good. While not all Republicans have laid down their hate-mongering arms, some have and we can only hope that enough do in the future. If, and when, that happens, we will be able to strive even closer to true equality.

Again, this is no final victory, not by a long shot. While the battle is over in New York, the war, so to speak, rages on. There is still much work to be done in the rest of the country despite the movement spreading across the Northeast. There needs to be a branching out through Middle America and the progress must extend back to the good ol’ marijuana-smoking, hybrid car-driving West Coast. If even one citizen is denied their opportunity to equality, then equality becomes nothing more than a word.

Storm Byrd is the perspectives editor for the Summer Wildcat. He can be contacted at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu.

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