Thursday, July 7, 2011

Wedding March

As most of you are probably aware, my home state of New York recently passed a bill granting gay couples the right to marry. Governor Cuomo signed the bill into law late Friday night, June 24th, which (wholly coincidentally) was perfect timing to kick off New York City’s gay pride weekend, which always takes place over the last weekend in June. Stewart and I are already legally married, thanks to our northern neighbors in Canada, but nevertheless we were absolutely thrilled that the state will finally recognize our marriage, and that it will allow thousands of other gay couples to plan and hold their own dream wedding in our hometown. 

Like most gay New Yorkers, as soon as we heard the news that the marriage bill would pass the state senate, we knew instantly where the party would commence -- at the iconic Greenwich Village gay bar: the Stonewall Inn. That is where the gay civil rights struggle for equality unofficially began, in the form of a skirmish between its gay patrons and police over their unwarranted raid of the bar back in late June 1969 -- hence the city’s gay pride parade taking place in late June ever since to commemorate that special night of defiance. So of course it being gay pride weekend, and another historic night being upon us, the Stonewall Inn was everyone’s instant destination.

Stonewall Inn riot
Unless, of course, you are a gay couple caring for a sleeping one year old. Stewart and I couldn’t make it to the Stonewall Inn that night for that obvious reason. That made it particularly important to us to make it to the pride parade to take place down 5th Avenue that following Sunday afternoon, so that we could have our moment of celebration too. To be honest, in the pre-Max years this parade was not all that important to us. Our focus that day instead had been on an annual brunch that we traditionally had for friends at our apartment before the parade, and to the bar-hopping festivities that commence after the parade has wound down. Due to Max being in our lives, we haven’t had our gay pride brunch for the past two years, and last year Max was too tiny for the parade.

Between the historic nature of the marriage equality bill having just passed, and Max now being old enough to marvel at all of the sights and sounds of the city, we were determined to get to the parade this year, and luckily we had some very good couple friends with us to join us (one of whom are getting married next month themselves!). Like past years, this year we didn’t stay at the parade for long, but that didn’t prevent me from getting all teary-eyed once we arrived, which believe it or not is very unusual for me. Right as we showed up, with Max on my shoulders, we saw Governor Cuomo march past. The crowd cheered louder than I’ve ever heard them, because everybody knew that not only did he sign the marriage equality bill into law, he was the key supporter who risked his political capital to make sure the bill passed the republican-controlled state senate. No previous democratic governor had put forth that effort or achieved that result -- even when the senate was controlled by fellow democrats.

Gov. Cuomo and other supportive pols marching in the parade

And if the raucous cheers in recognition of his heroic efforts weren’t enough to get me choked up, the “It Gets Better” project was marching right behind the governor, followed by the Trevor Project (a national organization providing crisis and suicide prevention services to LGBT youth).  It is no surprise that these floats were linked to Cuomo and his accomplishment. After all, marriage equality is a very tangible sign that life does “get better” for the LGBT community, and hopefully LGBT youth witnessing first-hand their state government beginning to treat gay relationships with as much respect as their straight counterparts will give them the courage to live open and proud lives.

Max and his daddy taking in the festivities
And I was particularly thrilled to watch the parade, with all that it symbolized this year, with Max on my shoulders watching along with me. Because I realized that Max will now blissfully get to grow up never knowing a time in his life when his parents’ marriage wasn’t official or wasn’t recognized by the state. This is one aspect of our lives that we’re happy to be perfectly banal in the eyes of our son.


  1. AMAZING post! It brought tears to my eyes, especially the last part. I am hoping that the rest of the country gets on board soon. We have Domestic Partnerships in this states, but I am starting to realize that it's not nearly enough. CONGRATS GUYS!

  2. Great post! Was thrilled to hear our closest neighbour to the south passed this bill.

  3. We, in PA, are very happy for all of you. One day, we'll get there. We may be the last to get there but we'll get there.
    I haven't been here in awhile but I love the photo of you and Max at the top.
    Your Friend, m.

  4. Thanks Mike and Tony! Enjoying reading about your pregnancy on your blog. Very exciting and belated congrats!