Here's to the Losers: Times Celebrates Sobbing NYS Senators Supporting Gay Marriage
Wednesday the New York Senate voted down gay marriage by the surprisingly large margin of 38-24, with many Democrats joining every Republican in opposition. It's no secret the Times favors gay marriage, both editorially and in its news pages, so it was no surprise that Thursday's Metro section story by Michael Grynbaum, "From the Floor and the Heart, Senators Make an Issue Personal," focused sympathetic eyes on the losing side.
The Times transcribed the emotional appeals recited on the floor of the Senate in Albany by gay marriage advocates. Grynbaum quoted not one, not two, but six emotional senators supporting gay marriage. The only senator who dared speak on the floor for the majority side was left to the end in the Times' coverage, with a single-sentence quote that seemed designed to make him look zealously, rigidly religious.
Here's a sample. Keep in mind that these quotes are from the side that lost by a wide margin:
Ruth Hassell-Thompson was a young girl decades ago when her older brother, a gay man, vanished from her deeply religious family, moving away to escape their disapproving father.
Senator Ruth Hassell-Thompson, recalling her brother's anguish, spoke for the bill.
Ms. Hassell-Thompson, 67, searched for years, finally finding him in a village in the south of France. When she urged him to come home, he said that "my father doesn't want to see me."
"But your sister does," Ms. Hassell-Thompson recalled telling him, her voice breaking as she stood on the Senate floor on Wednesday and publicly revealed her brother's story for the first time.
Ms. Hassell-Thompson, a Democratic state senator from Westchester who grappled over whether to support the legalization of same-sex marriage, said she ultimately could not oppose a bill that would have eased the pain of her brother's life.
"He needed to know that the sister that he loved and revered struck a blow for justice for him," she said in an interview.
In an extraordinarily personal debate, senator after senator cast aside the often mundane rhetoric of lawmaking and delved into the most intimate aspects of their lives: husbands, wives, siblings and religion.
A Jewish senator told of a gay friend who was disowned by his family and was taken in by Holocaust survivors all too familiar with the brute realities of discrimination. Black lawmakers evoked slavery and the fight for civil rights, recalling a not-so-distant time when the right to marry was still determined by skin color.
The lone opponent to speak in the chamber, Rubén Díaz Sr., a Democrat from the Bronx, invoked his own experiences as a minister to explain his vote, and rejected arguments from other senators that religion should not play a role in deciding who can legally marry in New York. "You should carry your Bible all the time," Mr. Díaz said.
Diaz's more quotable phrases were left on the Times' editing room floor, but captured by Catholic Online:
Remember your rules, remember your values... remember your family values, traditional values, moral values. Go back to the defense of your traditional values, join me a Democrat, join me a Hispanic, join me a black, join me a Puerto Rican, and join me in bringing a referendum to the people.