It’s the morning after the New York State Senate passed what is widely referred to as the “gay marriage bill.” I’m hoping that we can cease referring to “gay marriage” now and simply call it “marriage.” I’m hoping, to paraphrase Governor Cuomo, that when the term “marriage equality” is used, fewer people get hung up on the concept of marriage, in its traditional sense, and focus instead on the word “equality.”
I’m also hoping that this belated but historic legislation makes an impression on all the teenagers who have felt bereft and alone. As I watched the vote – which seemed to take forever – I thought of Matthew Shephard, whose murder, in 1998, led to the passage of federal hate crime legislation over a decade later. I thought of Tyler Clementi, the
Rutgers student who jumped off a bridge, one of five teens who took their own lives in the fall of 2010. Those suicides directly led to an outpouring of support highlighted, most publicly, by the It Gets Better campaign (www.itgetsbetter.org).
I thought of my students, most of them heterosexual, whose easygoing acceptance of homosexuality will, I believe, change the world.
Happy Gay Pride Week, New Yorkers. Celebrate, and remember.