How Your Marriage Equality Sausage Gets Made

06/27/2011 1:59 PM |


  • New York Times

Are we still celebrating marriage equality? Are we tired of hearing about it? I’m in Montana celebrating my brother’s straight marriage, so I’m a little out of the loop. I do think that The Road to Gay Marriage in New York from Saturdays Times is fascinating. It’s a long one, and worth reading, and it drives home what has been apparent to me for a long time.

Though it takes money to change votes and get things done, especially in our messed up state government, it takes knowing and caring about actual gay people to change minds. Governor Cuomo, for example:

The pressure did not let up at home. Mr. Cuomo’s girlfriend, Sandra Lee, has an openly gay brother, and she frequently reminded the governor how much she wanted the law to change.

Carl Kruger, a Brooklyn Dem who had voted against gay marriage two years ago changed his vote because:

The gay nephew of the woman he lives with, Dorothy Turano, was so furious at Mr. Kruger for opposing same-sex marriage two years ago that he had cut off contact with both of them, devastating Ms. Turano. “I don’t need this,” Mr. Kruger told Senator John L. Sampson of Brooklyn, the Democratic majority leader. “It has gotten personal now.”

Even the money guys, wealthy Republicans, were swayed by knowing and caring about gay people in their lives:

But the donors in the room — the billionaire Paul Singer, whose son is gay, joined by the hedge fund managers Cliff Asness and Daniel Loeb — had the influence and the money to insulate nervous senators from conservative backlash if they supported the marriage measure. And they were inclined to see the issue as one of personal freedom, consistent with their more libertarian views.

There’s a lot more to the article about the various back room maneuverings, but I am struck by how powerful it is to have a person in your life that changes something from an issue to something more. Over and over again, these guys talk about it becoming “personal” because someone they care about is gay, and they suddenly see that same-sex marriage isn’t some lefty political agenda thing, it’s a my nephew wants to marry his boyfriend thing.

Maybe on a more cynical day I would find it gross that some of these guys are so unable to be empathetic to causes without personally knowing somebody affected by it, but today I have decided to find it a hopeful sign for humanity. Maybe we’re not so bad after all?