Happy Birthday America!
In loving memory of the victims in Orlando, I am re-publishing this blog.
On Friday night, June 24, 2011, my husband and I were in New York. We held our iPhones close to keep an eye on the same-sex marriage vote being taken by the New York State Senate. As the Associated Press app alert appeared on the iPhone screen, announcing that the bill passed by a 33-29 margin, we jumped up out of our seats with joy!
Republicans and Democrats joined together to push past politics of old. My favorite quote was from Senator Mark J. Grisanti, a Republican from Buffalo, “I apologize for those who feel offended,” Mr. Grisanti said, adding, “I cannot deny a person, a human being, a taxpayer, a worker, the people of my district and across this state, the State of New York, and those people who make this the great state that it is, the same rights that I have with my wife.”
That Sunday, following the vote, my husband and I joined Governor Cuomo and Mayor Bloomberg as we walked from 35th Street and 5th Avenue to Greenwich Village in the Gay Pride Parade. My feet were dancing to the music, my eyes streaming with tears as we passed the tens of thousands of people lining the streets cheering and thanking Governor Cuomo and Mayor Bloomberg (one a Democrat and the other a Democrat turned Republican turned Independent). Mothers, fathers, grandparents, uncles, aunts, sisters, brothers, people of different nationalities, religions, and socioeconomic backgrounds all walked the street – all with happiness in their hearts. Many had tears in their eyes or were crying with joy. I couldn’t help but wonder what it must have been like – just one week earlier, not being able to marry the person that you love. I could not fathom the dimension of heartache, devastation and negative stigma this injustice had caused – so unimaginable and outrageous.
Hats off to New York State for being the largest state to affirm these basic rights. I am hoping that more states follow and reconfirm one of the principles upon which our nation was built: that all men and women are created equal and therefore entitled to the same rights and freedoms.
A very dear friend and mentor of mine taught me to try to make every day my birthday because on your birthday you celebrate yourself. With this beautiful nugget of wisdom in mind, I want to celebrate freedom, liberty and justice for all – every day!
Happy Birthday, America!