The Empire State lets them say: “I do”
THE Stonewall Inn, in New York’s West Village, is famous in gay history as the scene of riots against the police in 1969. On June 26th Roy O’Neill and Michael Gigl stood just across the street from it to watch the city’s Pride march. The couple’s daughter Kiera sat on Mr Gigl’s shoulders for a better view. This year’s march was even more joyous than usual. Some 36 hours earlier, New York had become the sixth and most-populous state to legalise same-sex marriage when the governor, Andrew Cuomo, signed the bill into law. It will go into effect on July 24th. After watching the vote on their sofa, Mr O’Neill and Mr Gigl proposed to each other.
在同性恋历史上，位于纽约西村的石墙旅店很有名，因为它见证了1969年同性恋者对抗警察的暴乱。6月26日，Roy O’Neill和Michael Gigl站在旅店对面的街道上，观看了纽约的“骄傲游行”。这对情侣的女儿Kiera坐在Gigl的肩膀上，以便看得更清楚。今年的游行比往常更充满欢乐。大约36小时以前，州长Andrew Cuomo签署了一项法案使之成为法律，使纽约成为了第六个同性婚姻合法化的州，也是人口最多的一个。法律将在7月24日生效。坐在沙发上观看了投票之后，Mr O’Neill和 Mr Gigl向对方求婚了。
Mr Cuomo cajoled, pressured and tirelessly negotiated to drive the bill through the state Senate, which is controlled by Republicans. In 2009, the last time the issue went to Albany, it was rejected soundly. Not a single Republican supported it and eight Democrats voted no. This time four Republicans joined 29 Democrats to push it through. One, Mark Grisanti of Buffalo, opposed gay marriage for religious reasons, but could not justify denying to gay couples the 1,324 rights and legal protections the state offers married couples. “Who am I”, he asked, “to say that someone does not have the same rights that I have with my wife?”
Cuomo威逼利诱，不屈不挠地协商，促使由共和党人控制的州参议院通过了这项法案。在2009年，这项议案最后一次提交到奥尔巴尼（纽约州首府），但被彻底否决。没有一位共和党人支持，有八名民主党人反对。这一次，4名共和党参议员和29名民主党参议员共同支持通过这样法案。其中一名来自布法罗的参议员Mark Grisanti 因为宗教原因反对同性婚姻，但他无法为剥夺同性恋夫妇该州赋予已婚夫妇的1324项权力和法律保护辩护。他说：“我有什么资格说我和我妻子享受的权力有人享受不了呢？”
Mr Cuomo worked closely with gay-rights groups, consolidated this time under the banner “New Yorkers United for Marriage”. Crucially, Republican consultants advised on strategy and slogans. Republicans also donated to the cause. A group of business leaders, including the heads of Goldman Sachs and Thomson Reuters, advised lawmakers that passage was needed for the state “to remain competitive”. Commercials starring celebrities, athletes, politicians, even Barbara Bush, daughter of George W., pushed for passage of the bill. Most effective were those starring ordinary New Yorkers who had gay family members: parents who wanted to see their son marry his longtime partner, a war veteran who hoped to see his grandson marry as he chose.
Cuomo 和同性恋者权力组织密切合作，这一次高举了“纽约人为了婚姻团结起来”的旗帜。重要的是，共和党的顾问也就战略和口号提出了建议。共和党人同样对这一事业做了贡献。包括高盛集团和路透社的领导者在内的一批商业领袖，建议立法者通过法案，因为这对纽约州“保持竞争力”非常重要。由名流、运动员、政客甚至前总统布什的女儿Barbara Bush参演的广告也支持法案的通过。最有效果的是由普通纽约民众参演的广告，他们都有家庭成员是同性恋：父母希望儿子能和他长期的伴侣结婚；一个老兵希望看到他的孙子和选择的人结婚。
The 2m onlookers at the Pride march hugged, hollered and danced. The loudest cheers were reserved for Mr Cuomo. Hundreds of marchers carried signs that read “Promise Kept” on one side and “Thank you Governor Cuomo” on the other. The noise went up several decibels when the police department’s marching band played “Here Comes the Bride”. Gary Payne and Dick Dehn, 54 years together, also earned loud applause as they rode by in a rickshaw. Michael Adams of SAGE, an advocacy group for older gays, says the passage of the law is especially poignant for them. They will now have hospital visitation rights, access to health insurance, tax deductions and relief from estate taxes.
观看“骄傲游行”的2百万名旁观者相互拥抱，高声欢呼，载歌载舞。最热烈的掌声留给了Mr Cuomo。数百名游行民众举着标牌一边写着“信守承诺”，另一边写着“感谢您Cuomo州长”。当警察局的游行乐队奏响“新娘来了”时，欢呼声升高了好几分贝。Gary Payne 和Dick Dehn在一起54年了，当他们乘坐黄包车经过时，人群发出了响亮的欢呼。来自老年同性恋者拥护机构SAGE的Michael Adams说，这项法律的通过对老年同性恋者有深刻的意义。他们将拥有医院探视权，享受医疗保险、税收减免，而且不用再支付地产税。
Unfortunately, state law does not trump federal law. Gay married couples are still not eligible for federal benefits. Although Oregon, Maine, Washington and Maryland are considering similar measures, the Defence of Marriage Act forbids federal recognition of same-sex marriage. Even so, Mr Cuomo sees New York as a beacon of social justice and is hopeful that its example will spread. Polls show that a majority of younger voters support marriage equality.
Exemptions were included in the bill for religious organizations, though this did not satisfy Catholic leaders. Brooklyn’s bishop called on parishes to ban gay-marriage supporters from speaking at events. If some churches won’t allow gay weddings, plenty of other places are impatient to get started. A pop-up chapel will be erected in Central Park on July 30th, providing an officiating person and cupcakes.Michael Bloomberg, New York’s mayor, is encouraging people to come to New York City to get married. His tourism office has set up an “NYC-I Do” website. Weddings mean money for the coffers of both city and state. In May some Democratic legislators estimated that wedding goods and services for gay couples would generate $284m over three years for New York. Mr O’Neill and Mr Gigl, together 17 years, plan to get married later this summer. “We’re going to have a small wedding,” says Mr O’Neill, “but a big reception.”
法案中包括为了宗教组织的豁免，尽管这让天主教领袖不满。布鲁克林的主教号召教区禁止同性婚姻的支持者在教会活动中发言。如果有些教堂不允许同性夫妇举行婚礼，许多其他地方都迫不及待地想开始为他们举行婚礼。6月30日，中央公园将竖立一个弹起式的小教堂，提供一名神父和纸杯蛋糕。纽约市市长Michael Bloomberg鼓励人们前往纽约结婚。他的旅游办公室已经成立了“NYC-I Do”网站。婚礼能为城市及其所在州带来收入。一些民主党立法者5月份曾预测为同性恋夫妇提供的婚礼商品和服务能在3年内为纽约带来284m美元的收入。在一起已经17年的Mr O’Neill和 Mr Gigl计划今年夏天晚些时候结婚。“我们的婚礼会很小” Mr O’Neill说，“但招待会会很大。”