NY 4 Marriage Equality

Published June 25, 2011 by Michael C Leeson

Today, NY Senate passes Marriage Equity Act 33 -29, which enables long overdue recognition of same-sex civil marriages in New York State. I congratulate the many advocates for their commitment in prosecuting this hard fought battle for marriage equality and applaud these politicians for showing some leadership on this matter. On this day, New York leads America in taking another step forward towards full recognition of LGBTIQ Civil and Human rights. However, while buoyed by the Albany outcome the Rainbow Nation may want to take a moment to reflect on the journey from Stonewall to the present success.

Some 42 years ago, a rag tag army of the most marginalised members of the Rainbow Nation stood up to authorities and said through their action enough is enough. These heroes drag queens, transgender community, effeminate young men, hustlers, and homeless youth gave life to the battle for change. This event occurred at a time when the Nation sort change through the Gay Liberation Movement however it seems over time in seeking social respectability, the middle-class have sanitized our fight for change. Today, these marginal groups face the same discrimination from within the nation and wider community It is unclear how things have really changed.

As tomorrow and in 30 days, people will wake and the biases underpinning this discrimination will not have changed while challenged bigotry remains strong.  I do not believe marriage equality is the panacea for the discrimination experienced by people who identify it is but more window dressing in the campaign for social respectability. Admittedly, many would disagree with this view however, as a queer I feel strongly that contemporary activists while well meaning have missed the reason so many have spilt blood in this battle for change and not tolerance.

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