This week has been written into history.
The New York State Senate met Wednesday morning to debate over two very important topics. First, the plan to close the gap in the budget deficit of $3.2 to $4 billion, which would reduce the gap by about $2.8 million. Second, the Domestic Relations Law, which would have allowed all couples, including same-sex couples, to marry and be legally recognized as a married couple in the state of New York. But only if the bill passed.
The Senate convened at 10 a.m. Wednesday and by 3:30 p.m. it had adjourned for the day. When they had finished, it was announced that they had failed the second bill by a 24 to 38 vote.
The N.Y.S. Senate has a 32 to 30 democratic majority. This may sound like a good thing, but unfortunately, as can be seen, not all of the 32 democrats were in favor of the bill. A vote of 24 in the affirmative is not something to be happy about. The bill passed in the state assembly, but wasn’t strong enough to withstand the disapproval by the senate.
Thomas Duane, senate sponsor of the bill, is the Legislature’s first openly gay member and he vowed not to give up.
"I’m like a dog with a bone," Duane said in his closing remarks on the floor. "I wouldn’t let go of anyone … because I don’t give up. I don’t know how to!"
Duane gave a very riveting speech about his life and the obstacles he’s had to overcome through his years. He is very passionate about the topic, along with many other people.
I am an openly gay man. I have been for only about three years now, but I have grown and matured very quickly, and have seen many things that don’t make me happy. I support same-sex marriage. I believe that everyone should have the right to commit themselves to the one they love; not only in an emotional way, but also in a legal way.
There are over 1,800 rights given to married couples that unmarried couples are not entitled to. Most think of things such as inheritance or health benefits, but there are smaller, less thought of things, like the right to visitation when a loved one is in the hospital, making plans for funerals and more high-spirited rights such as adopting children, gaining custody of partner’s children and many other personal rights that people automatically think they are entitled to if they are in a committed relationship with someone.
Without the ability to marry, same-sex couples lose these rights, some of which mean more to them than heterosexual couples. I use the word heterosexual because that is how the majority of society sees it. There are, in fact, bisexual couples that marry, but that is fine because it is still a man and a woman who are marrying.
The attitude toward homosexual, or gay, people is very negative, more so to gay men than gay women. I have heard the derogatory words faggot, queer, homo, flamer and many others thrown around carelessly without any recognition of what is actually being said.
Honestly, what is the point of this? Why do people feel the need to say things like this, especially when they are only joking? The answer will never be explained without constant argument. Words such as those mentioned above come from lack of understanding, along with the fact that so many people are uncomfortable with homosexuality.
Now back to the point at hand: the bill that failed. Some controversy may arise because of the statements made during the debate and voting sessions on Wednesday. Senator Eric Adams asked his fellow senate members to put aside their religious beliefs and to remember that at one point in history, slavery was legal.
"When I walk through these doors, my Bible stays out," Adams said. One of his fellow senators, Ruben Diaz, rebutted with "that’s the wrong statement; you should carry your Bible all the time."
If you’re not aware, the U.S. government has a separation of church and state. What Diaz and other senators feel is against the beliefs of our founding fathers and today’s government.
Just remember, most of us take the simple things for granted. However, there are some people out there who are not given the simple rights and advantages that the majority have because there is so much controversy regarding this topic that’s been around for a very long time. Think about how you feel, come up with an opinion and stick to it. But while you’re contemplating and conjuring up that opinion, please consider what individual rights others may lose if you decide to be against same-sex marriage.