Gay Marriage Roundup: Banner Headlines, Few Opponents, 'Tears of Joy'
As expected, Times coverage of the law passed late Friday night allowing gay marraige in New York State was heavily favorable. Sunday's front page New York Times story provided the tick-tock on how New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo marshaled support to pass gay marriage in the Republican-controlled New York State Senate in part by convincing 'super-rich Republican donors' to support him, in Michael Barbaro's 'Behind Gay Marriage, an Unlikely Mix of Forces.' It included this odd anecdote about a Democratic state senator and holdout against history:
Nobody ever expected Carl Kruger to vote yes.
A Democrat from Brooklyn, known for his gruff style and shifting alliances, Senator Kruger voted against same-sex marriage two years ago, was seen as a pariah in his party and was accused in March of taking $1 million in bribes in return for political favors.
Some gay activists, assuming he was a lost cause, had taken to picketing outside of his house and screaming that he was gay - an approach that seemed only to harden his opposition to their agenda. (Mr. Kruger has said he is not gay.) But unbeknown to all but a few people, Mr. Kruger desperately wanted to change his vote. The issue, it turned out, was tearing apart his household.
So much for gay 'pride' – apparently those gay activists thought it would be shameful for Kruger to be gay. Was reporter Barbaro really surprised that protestors shrieking about his sexuality outside his house failed to change his mind? Barbaro concluded:
There, in a speech the public would never hear, [Cuomo] offered his most direct and impassioned case for allowing gays to wed. Gay couples, he said, wanted recognition from the state that they were no different from the lawmakers in the room. 'Their love is worth the same as your love,' Mr. Cuomo said, according to someone who heard him. 'Their partnership is worth the same as your partnership. And they are equal in your eyes to you. That is the driving issue.'
In the late hours of Friday night, 33 members of the State Senate agreed with him.
The previous day's lead from Albany by Barbaro and Nicholas Confessore appeared under a banner headline with a huge font reserved for elections and wars, 'New York Allows Same-Sex Marriage, Becoming Largest State To Pass Law.' Only one opponent of same-sex marriage was quoted.
Frank Bruni, former Times White House correspondent, now the paper's first openly gay columnist, made his debut with a personal essay on gay marriage, 'To Know Us Is to Let Us Love.' (Sunday also marked the debut of the Sunday Review, replacing the Week in Review, featuring less news analysis and more opinion pieces from outside sources, with big graphics and lots of white space.) Bruni wrote:
In the mid-1980s, when I was in college, what concerned and frustrated my peers and me was how few states had basic statutes forbidding discrimination against gay men and lesbians: laws that merely prevented someone from being denied a job or apartment on the basis of whom he or she loved. At that point only Wisconsin and the District of Columbia provided such protection. The decade would end with just one addition, Massachusetts, to that meager list.
Same-sex marriage? I don't recall our talking - or dreaming - much about that. We considered ourselves realists. Sometimes idealists. But never fantasists.
As it happens, we were pessimists, and underestimated our country's capacity for change....
Finally Monday's Metro section story by John Leland on the annual New York City gay pride parade found the writer virtually celebrating with the marchers:
Two days after New York became the sixth and largest state to legalize same-sex marriage, participants in the 42nd annual gay pride parade on Sunday used the occasion to reflect somberly on the gains and losses of the past year.
They came to shout, dance, cheer, strut, hug and shed tears of joy, knowing that on July 24, when the law takes effect, the season for tears will begin in earnest.
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