The Right to Gloat – Some Thoughts on Gay Marriage in New York

Choose your gloats carefully, because people generally don’t like a gloater, and gloating tends to create division between personality and cultural types. Gloating is a nasty hobby.

Today I am gloating – partly because I think marriage is an inalienable right.

Three things happened last night:

  • My wife and I negotiated a plan for a fabulous ice-cream dessert
  • New York State passed a law allowing same-sex couples to marry
  • And, I pulled my cat’s barbed whisker out of the sole of my foot (it had been bugging me all day – I had simply thought there was a small pebble in my shoe).

Of the three, one represents the closest I have ever come to a significant moment in civil rights history. Sure, there have been other steps forward (in my lifetime) for the gay rights movement – e.g., there was the time when mayors all over the country decided to start marrying same-sex couples, and there were several other states before New York which passed laws allowing gay marriage or whose courts ruled that gay marriage is okey-dokey. 🙂 New York is nowhere near being a pioneer in this movement.

But I am closely aligned culturally and geographically with the state of New York. And it’s a big state that is “politically important”. Legislation to allow gay marriage in New York is a significant event. And I feel happy and gloatful about it. Myself, I was married (to a woman) in a civil ceremony in Vermont (not my home state), and subsequently moved to a new state, and my marriage was  recognized and respected by everyone along the way. While we are still a long way from that type of widespread recognition for gay marriage, it makes me feel good to know that gay marriage has moved a bit closer to “normal”. By treating it more normal we are making it more possible for everyone to embrace the tradition of marriage, which is a tradition in which I strongly believe.

All the same, I know it doesn’t help to gloat, any more than it helps when “the other side” makes negative comments about civil rights for gays. Gloating and negatizing create division – the last thing we need. I support working together, toward common goals.

Again, I gloat emotionally. And, there is still some defensiveness on my side because, for example, it’s still not possible for gay couples generally to file joint Federal tax returns, due to the Defense of Marriage Act which was passed during the Clinton Administration. That’s sad, I think. (I’m a tax wonk, so I care about taxes.) On the other hand, the writer of this blog piece feels the IRS is bypassing Federal law in favor of recognizing same-sex tax returns. It’s all so complicated.

I look forward to a day, probably many years from now, when same-sex marriage is legal everywhere, and all the current stigma around it has long since evaporated. It’s still a long path ahead, I think.

In the meantime, I will do my best not to create further division through gloating, starting tomorrow. 🙂


2 Replies to “The Right to Gloat – Some Thoughts on Gay Marriage in New York”

  1. Pingback: GAYS? Getting MARRIED? LEGALLY? GOODBYE, CIVILIZATION!!! | Bill Schmalfeldt

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