I sent the following letter to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo in response to the recent passage of the Marriage Equality Law in Albany. We all owe him a debt of gratitude.
Dear Governor Cuomo,
I write this thank you note on behalf of the many gay couples who have married under New York’s Marriage Equality Law and officiants, like me, who have the honor conducting their wedding ceremonies. The attached photo is from a wedding that I officiated on August 20 at Wagner Cove, in Central Park. The loving grooms are from Louisiana.
I was born and raised in Oklahoma and, despite having lived in New York for many years, I must confess that I don’t generally identify myself as a “New Yorker.” (As our college fight song says, “I’m Sooner born and Sooner bred, and when I die, I’ll be Sooner dead.”) However, I am enormously proud of New York State and our policymakers who saw fit to pass this legislation. In my gay wedding ceremonies, I include a mention of the fact that we New Yorkers have a great deal of gratitude that we may host loving couples from throughout America as they seek to have their partnerships recognized. So too, I suggest that “my” couples are representatives of those many same-sex couples who do not enjoy what I consider to be a God-given right to legally partner with their beloved.
I have long been an admirer of the public-spiritedness of the Cuomo family. Many years ago, when your father was Governor, I worked at what was then the “Center for the Study of the States,” a project of the Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government in Albany. I was inspired by his progressive politics and political vision. I also collaborated a bit with your younger brother Chris, when he was active in some inter-generational activities on behalf of preserving Social Security.
While it seems that New York’s marriage equality movement was incrementally gathering strength in recent years, it was only through your political leadership that this remarkable piece of Civil Rights legislation passed. And for that, I say thanks.
I close by saying that one member of my small family in Oklahoma is my teen-aged niece, who is gay. She was thrilled to learn of the news of the passage of the Marriage Equality Law. I suspect one day that she will come to New York to marry.
Thank you very much Governor Cuomo. In a time where political leadership seems to be in short supply, you serve as a power of example.