It happened last night. I was attending a large event. The main speaker was at the front of the room, holding the attention of the rapt audience.
Suddenly, a woman stood and, without preamble, began reading aloud from the cell phone in her outstretched hand. “The State Senate has just passed legislation making same-sex marriage legal in the State of New York!”
The room erupted in cheers and applause and all in attendance began hugging friends and strangers alike. Last night a long, difficult struggle for equal rights finally came to an end.
The key votes in passing the new law came from two men, both of whom put their consciences above their party loyalty:
NY State Senator Stephen M. Saland, a Republican from Poughkeepsie, who said, “My intellectual and emotional journey has ended here today, and I have to find doing the right thing as treating all persons with equality, and that equality includes within the definition of marriage.”
NY State Senator Mark J. Grisanti, a Republican from Buffalo, who stated, “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.”
I’ve never been prouder of my state. It’s been a long time coming, but in New York State, the rule of law is for equality — at last, at last, at last.