New York Voices on the Prop 8 Ruling


OK, so California beat us to marriage equality. A couple hundred New Yorkers gathered last night in Foley Square to congratulate (with just a little ribbing) the Golden State and celebrate what this victory in federal court means for marriage equality through out the nation. After defeats in New York, New Jersey, Maine, and Hawaii, gay activists enjoyed the rare occasion to celebrate, while acknowledging that the fight isn’t over.

RS spoke a few of the activists, politicians, and elated lovers gathered. Here are a few of their voices:

• Joanne Shain and Mary Jo Kennedy, partners of 28 years and plaintiffs in the New York State LAMDBA Legal lawsuit for marriage equality

On today’s decision: “We’re ecstatic! Finally, some good news. Now we just hope New York State gets on board and does the right thing. We’re looking forward to the elections in the Senate.”

On the federal implications: “Looking at the big picture, it really is exciting. But until then, we’re taking a state-by-state approach. Five states have marriage equality, 45 do not. We hope New York State doesn’t hold out too much longer.”

• Christine Quinn, Speaker of the City Council

On being beat by California: “Although I would never want to live in California, let me just say it that way…I wouldn’t want to live anywhere but New York. But, I am proud of California today, and I am proud that California is leading the way, and I cannot wait until we have an even bigger rally where we can add New York [to the list].”

On today’s ruling: “I was feeling very excited. We’ve had a lot of down days, so to speak, on the road toward marriage equality. So to have a day like this, where the courts have added evidence to our case, added more tools to our toolbox, where the courts have said we’re full families and full citizens like everybody else, it’s just a great day. It’s days like these that will help us move forward and days like these that help us get through he bumps in the road in the fight for civil rights.”

On the upcoming state Senate races: “I am optimistic. I’m optimistic about the races, and I’m optimistic about the [state senate marriage equality] vote. You know, there’s only so many times that civil rights can be denied, and there are only so many times you can look your own constituents in the face and tell them they don’t matter, and I just believe the senate’s going to be able to do it a second time.”

• Cathy Marino-Thomas, Executive Board President, Marriage Equality New York

On today’s ruling: “It’s everything I wanted, and more! The judge has been very fair. As I understand it, Judge Walker has given a two-day stay. The other side has two days to give a compelling reason [the stay shouldn’t hold pending appeal]. If they fail, marriages should start in California on Monday! It’s about as ironclad as you can make it!”

• Jake Goodman, Queer Rising

“I find it surprisingly emotional. I’m shocked it feels so good to read words on a page that tell me I’m equal. It’s weird. But it’s good.”

• Dan O’Neill and Lane Hudson, partners

“We just got in town from D.C., where we’re partnered, and we’re thrilled. We’re not quite there yet [ready for marriage], but we want to have the option when the time is right, and want others to be able to have the option. We’re excited that even the other side undercut their own claims. This decision is well position to stand all the way to the Supreme Court.”

• Erin O’Brien and Dana Barnett, New Yorkers who wed in California in 2008

“We feel really — justified. Just, justified.”

Thomas Duane, New York State Senator from Manhattan

On today’s decision: “Thank you, California, and a Bush federal judge! A Bush federal judge!”

On his speech to the New York Senate last December: “I was speaking to my colleagues. I knew there was a wider audience, but I wanted them to know that they were denying one of their colleagues equality, and they can’t make believe that everything is all great and we’re all buddy-buddy, at the same time doing that. Even though I had brought some of them [to the Senate], and then you vote against me — no, it’s not OK. That’s not acceptable.”

On being beat to marriage equality by California: “They [beat us], and then they stepped back. They won in the legislature, and then they lost with the people, and then they won in the courts. I would have liked to have beaten Iowa, but at least [California] beat New Jersey! And I think we can beat New Jersey, too.”