First the good news: Washington, DC passed a marriage equality bill on a 10 to 2 vote. It has to be voted on one more time and then the mayor has said he will sign the legislation. Given the lack of real home rule in the district, Congress can overturn this vote. Indications are that they are unlikely to do so. However in these times of betrayal, we will have to wait and see.
On another front, the vote in the New York State senate by a margin of 38 to 24 was simply outrageous and a betrayal on so many levels it is hard to write about without anger clouding my judgment. Eight Democrats who we helped put in positions of power in the State senate in the end voted against us and not one Republican voted for us. Some of the Democrats, like Senator Diaz, were no surprise since they have been beating the anti-LGBT drum for some time. Others just blatantly lied to us. They took our money, gathered our votes, looked in our eyes and said, "Count on me" and then voted against us.
Governor David Paterson deserves enormous praise for keeping his promise to get us a vote so we could see where we stand with the Democratic party in this state. His non-stop advocacy on our behalf can only be described as courageous. Equally courageous was the ESPA and allies who gave us their daily lives in order to make this vote happen. More than any others they have to feel the sting of betrayal.
We also can just look across the Hudson River to New Jersey for more political cowards and liars. The Democratic party promised that if we waited until after the election, win or lose, they would pass marriage equality and the governor would sign it. Governor John Corzine is more than willing to sign it but the Democrats in the legislature are refusing to keep their word. Once again we have been led down the garden path in the Garden State.
With New York, Maine, and New Jersey, the wisdom of a federal strategy is enforced as a new way of approaching this dilemma. What is not acceptable is that we all get filled with fear and start giving away our freedom out of frustration. Separate but equal does not work and those seeking the safety of avoiding the marriage issue should think again. Now is not the time for the timid. Now is the time for an even more aggressive approach, a deep review of how to proceed and the implementation new strategies.
If they insist on operating on a level of betrayal then it is time to seriously consider a more civil rights movement approach to fighting for our rights instead of pumping money into either party in some sort of masochistic dance. We must consider a concerted and well planned campaign of non-violent civil disobedience. Business as usual can not continue in this country as long as we are separated from the rest of our neighbors, families and friends who have full equality and freedom.
Over the next days, I will write more but need to collect my thoughts and find a place without anger to write with reason.
Thanks to Rex Wockner for making the photographs of Andres Duque available to us of last nights protest in the pouring rain in Times Square.