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When Florida, Like New York State, Joins the Ranks of the Civilized on Gay Marriage

| June 25, 2011

It's not complicated. (Brocco Lee)

In the early morning of June 28, 1969—just after 3 a.m.—a posse of plainclothes cops raided the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar at 53 Christopher Street in Manhattan’s Village. The cops’ pretext: the bar was selling liquor illegally. That was bogus. It was just another night of gay harassment. There were 200 people in the bar. They were evicted. On the street, they grew to 400. They’d had enough. They threw bricks, bottles and garbage at the cops. They rioted again the next night. Cops charged the rioters several times, beat and clubbed them as if Manhattan’s Sheridan Square area had turned into a Bull Connor corner of Alabama. The Stonewall Inn’s shattered windows were boarded up and covered in graffiti: “Support gay power.” “Legalize gay bars.”

The gay movement was born.

At 10:30 p.m. Friday, the Republican-majority New York Senate voted 33 to 29 to legalize gay marriage, making New York the largest state by far to ratify the most important and belated civil right since the Voting Rights Act of 1965. New York joins Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, and the District of Columbia in that minority of civilized states where gays and lesbians are no longer treated as second-class citizens, and where the religious establishment is no longer allowed, hideously and unconstitutionally, to dictate doctrine and discrimination.

There’ll be a time in the future when people will look back at the barbed-wired bans on gay marriage in place today and wonder how this nation, so big on liberty and rights, could have suffered idiotic bigotry on such a scale for so long. Then again, this same nation was founded as much on the pretensions of the Declaration of Independence as it was on the repression of slaves, the genocide of Indians and the marginalization, until 1920, of women. American enlightenment has at times had the DNA of carob molasses.

So the question isn’t when will Florida and the rest of the union join the ranks of the civilized regarding gay marriage. That’s bound to happen. The question is how unnecessarily late Florida will choose to do so.

In 2004, 14.3 million people in 11 states, with combined majorities of 67 percent, voted in constitutional bans of one sort or another against gay marriage. Florida already had a ban in place in statute. Not content with that much explicit discrimination on the books, voters enshrined their intolerance in the constitution when 62 percent approved Amendment 2 in 2008, putting this medieval verbiage in a 21st century constitution: “Inasmuch as marriage is the legal union of only one man and one woman as husband and wife, no other legal union that is treated as marriage or the substantial equivalent thereof shall be valid or recognized.”

Where can such baseless assertions as marriage being the “legal union of only one man and one woman” have so much as a throb of credibility other than in the harebrained fictions of scriptures and other codes of cults that have, or should have, absolutely no bearing on the civil laws of civil society? Since when do scriptures dictate to constitutional principles? And how long will the U.S. Supreme Court allow these unconstitutional state amendments to fly in the face of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution? Civil unions aren’t the answer. That’s the separate-but-equal standard in play these days that gives gay-marriage opponents cover the same way Plessy v. Ferguson gave institutional racism a half century’s boost with its separate-but-equal slam on blacks. Astoundingly, Barack Obama still clings to the gay version of Plessy v. Ferguson, though he’s retreated from enforcing the crock of the federal Defense of Marriage Act and abolished the folly of the military’s don’t-ask-don’t-tell.

New York State is celebrating. We should celebrate along. There is nothing in gay marriage that offends anymore than straight marriage does, marriage itself—not the sexual nature of its participants—having its issues, often because of the religious shackles imposed on it: if there is a problem with marriage, let’s start with, for example, some churches’ and mosques’ and synagogues’ revolting impositions on women to submit to their husbands, to endure their violence, to defer to their judgments, to persist in the superstitious beliefs in patriarchy, which have as much validity as inherited or divine right.

But let’s also remember that in gay matters, Florida remains closer to Iran than to New York State. Florida pioneered the anti-gay movement with the likes of Anita Bryant and her war on gay adoption, a war finally ended only when Charlie Crist put an end to the charade last year. As the 2008 vote shows, Floridians revel in putting down en entire class of people behind the cloak of religious authority and its sickly, opportunistic twin: tradition. If it’s traditional to discriminate, to hurt, to hate, oppress, and in Florida it still is, it’s also just as traditional, in the American sense anyway, to revolt. New York State just did. Florida will, too, one day, though like a brigand clinging to his loot, Florida won’t do it willingly: the Supreme Court will drag it out of its backwardness, if it can still read the 14th Amendment.

–Pierre Tristam

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35 Responses for “When Florida, Like New York State, Joins the Ranks of the Civilized on Gay Marriage”

  1. Johnny Taxpayer says:

    The issue is a constitutional issue, not because of what the author has outlined, but because the separation of church and state. Marriage itself originated not as a legal right, but as a religious sacrament, recognized by just about every brand of religion out there. We’ve chosen for some reason to intermingle the too. Marriage under the law, is nothing more than a civil contract between two people, much in the same way two individuals form a partnership to enter into a business venture. You combine assets into a single entity, you agree to be liable for a great share of your partners actions, A large share of the population would have no problem with two people forming this type of partnership on the basis of a personal relationship rather than a business venture. Of course you’re always going to have a certain percent of the population who will be against gay marriage regardless of how it’s styled. But the vast majority of opposition from the average American who does oppose gay marriage, comes from the concern that it will eventually permit government intrusion into the religious sacrament of marriage, rather than the civil contract aspects of marriage, by way of discrimination law suits against churches who refuse to perform gay marriage ceremonies. If we can style a solution that protect religious institutions from government intrusion in this manner, the majority of Americans would support civil gay marriage.

    • Justin says:

      I’m gonna call bogus on this, “the vast majority of opposition from the average American who does oppose gay marriage, comes from the concern that it will eventually permit government intrusion into the religious sacrament of marriage, rather than the civil contract aspects of marriage, by way of discrimination law suits against churches who refuse to perform gay marriage ceremonies.”

      Not only is this against what people generally cite as opposition “one man and one woman is tradition” or “Homosexuality is a sin” both of which are far more common arguments, but it is contrary to the many tolerated religious practices already in safe existence. The courts are not forcing the Catholic church to have women priests for instance, nor will they. A private religious church as an incredible amount of freedom in it’s religious rites and rituals (so long as it doesn’t physically harm people). This uncommon argument you make is absurd based on the history of freedom churches have had in dictating their own religious acts.

      This makes me think that you may not believe this argument either. If you do believe it, why is no one stopping the church from denying women priests? Mind you, I don’t want to force the Catholic church to open up to such a thing since it’s their choice and women are free to see the discrimination and decide if they want to join it, but what is your assessment?

  2. Johnny Taxpayer says:

    and to follow up… in reading the author’s articles over the past year or so, he never fails to take a swipe at Florida, whether it’s this issue, or education, or taxes, or any number of issues, Florida is always wrong, behind, or backwards in his eyes. Why then do you grace us with your presence? You’ve obviously moved here from somewhere else, why stay, if it’s so bad? I get tired of people who move into our area of Florida, and then proceed to continuously denigrate it. That’s not to say we don’t need improvement, we certainly do, all communities do. But why the need to keep beating the drum, when interstate 95 is only minutes away, and will take you wherever in the world you would rather live.

  3. Vern says:

    Who ever wrote this article seems to have a major problem. Do us all a favor and move to NYC. There you can enjoy all the disgusting, perverted ways they do. Or maybe go to California, that would be right up your liberal alley.

  4. Yogi says:

    Careful Pierre your ignorance is showing. The concept of marriage came from Scripture to begin with. The question begs, do I believe you because you say so or do I believe God who says, “There is no one righteous, no not one.” You prove His point when you call Scripture a fantasy, yet offer no proof. You give an clear example of obfuscated irrational thinking. There is no Constitutional mandate that I no of that prevents us as a people to obey the principles in the Bible as a rule of law. Thou shalt not kill is one of the ten commandments, will you next try to convince us we don’t need to heed that one because this too comes from God? Or Lying? Or Stealing? If all these are thrown away like the Biblical principle of marriage, then we shall not be able to govern. God uses issues like Gay marriage to bring us to the ends of ourselves to seek Him in repentance. I don’t expect you to understand this based on what I read above. This is where we are headed. Florida probably will legalize Gay marriage. We all die and face God in the end, He says so and He is Holy and without iniquity. Notice what Jesus said to the thief on the cross Luk 23:43 And Jesus said to him, Truly I say to you, Today you shall be with Me in Paradise. Which explains the old testament proclamation Ecc 12:7 then the dust shall return to the earth as it was, and the spirit shall return to God who gave it. Tell me Pierre was Jesus a liar? If He isn’t, then you have a problem. What goes around comes around.

  5. Ann (also a taxpayer) says:

    To Johnny taxpayer: Just before the NY Senate voted to come out of the dark ages and give equal rights to same sex couples, they added an amendment to exempt religious organizations. Do your homework before you run off at the keyboard.

  6. Bob Flumps says:

    I don’t believe this guy. He needs to write this type of article for the New York Times or the Huffington Post. What audience agrees with his stance?

    I don’t mind a fair and balanced look at culture issues. But, he is too extreme for my tastes.

  7. Edward says:

    Why don’t YOU move to Alabama or some other intolerant State where you can be safe among your “ilk”. Though I’m not “gay”, I think what other consenting adults choose to do with their lives is NOT someone else business unless it involves them. Does “gay” marriage involve you? Thought not. . Mind YOUR own business!

  8. w.ryan says:

    While I agree with johnny on some of his statement on marriage and the separation of church and state I can’t accept the follow up statements. There is absolute reasons Pierre writes what he writes. You yourself acknowledge that there are problems which need addressing in Florida, So why can’t a writer support his points whether they are along your line of acceptance or not? Maybe you are the one that should see what exists outside of Florida. As for Gay Marriage I find that most people aren’t inclined to put aside their upbringing, cultural and religious beliefs to change to this new covenant of marriage. Politicians can and have done so. Most people do however feel that same sex couples should not be penalized for the love to each other especially with civil unions and should have every privilege as that of a traditional couple. This persecution has been rightfully addressed in some states. As liberal minded as I am I cannot put gay marriage on the same platform as the Civil Rights movement of the 60’s. I can’t see why the word…union… has to be replaced by the word…marriage. There are significant differences. Like the President I am for civil unions. Every one should have the same rights to the Pursuit of Happiness but I cannot discharge my upbringing and beliefs so lightly.

  9. Curious says:

    What are people so afraid of? Are you cowards? Is that how you’d tell it to your kids? “Daddy is a coward who is afraid of gays marrying.” What’s the big deal? Get over it, be a man, and accept that people are different and it’s not going to kill you. The intolerance here is ridiculous. Gay gay gay gay gay. Who gives a shit, get over it.

  10. Margaret Federle Carter says:

    Hopefully Florida is not going to be one of the last states to go with this.!!

  11. Darlene Ahl Hotchkiss says:

    Hopefully it never joins the ranks of immorality. God says marriage is between one man and one women..

  12. Paul Goeller says:

    It is sad to see our culture turning to the same kind of perversion that has brought down civilizations throughout history. Sin has it consequences and we can expect no less.

  13. Margaret Federle Carter says:

    What I meant on my post was for Florida to get with the program and pass the same sex marriage as NY did!! So @ Paul I hope you want to see this passed in FL also. :)

  14. Darlene Ahl Hotchkiss says:

    I really don’t think Paul wants to see it pass….I think you don’t understand what he is saying….

  15. Jenny Coleman Perry says:


  16. Margaret Federle Carter says:

    I understand what Paul was saying, I was just commenting because he liked my post and I did not think he understood what I was saying. lol

  17. w.ryan says:

    The reason why we have most issues we have in this world stem from religion and greed. Christianity and other religions have caused many to die and be persecuted. It’s because of the interpretation of the bible that Yogi has that view. The New Testament was written decades after the death of Jesus. Jesus didn’t have a Press Corp traveling with him to give a viable account of every miracle he performed. And the parallels from past religions are more than coincidental. Aside from its altered state from Kings, Emperors and religious leaders in the past I can understand some peoples belief. If a person chooses to believe this it,’s up to them. This is not being liberal at all. It’s individual rights. Yogi… get a grip with what people choose to do and who they choose to love. At the same time some opponents of same sex marriage would like to have the same courtesy extended to them with their own handling of this issue. I know I am not a part of the Dark ages and I certainly don’t belief what Yogi believes. I am a “Progressive” but because of my upbringing stand opposed to this issue of terminology. Love and let live.

  18. w.ryan says:

    Curious…I love my children and I love my friends! Sexual orientation has never been an issue. Love and let live!

  19. John Sbordone says:

    Thank you Pierre for your opinion and for a forum to examine our thoughts. This is a vital issue. That is why the new CITY REPERTORY THEATRE will open its inaugural season with THE LARAMIE PROJECT on September 15 at the HOLLINGSWORTH GALLERY. This investigation into the reactions of the townspeople of Laramie, Wyoming to the murder of Mathew Shepard, a gay college student, is an incisive examination of how we react to the reality of our gay brothers and sisters. Our theatre is dedicated to providing thought provoking entertainments . We will “hold a mirror up to society” and then encourage debates about the issues. So all of you come and see this vital matter dissected on the stage and then engage in civil discourse about the issue. John Sbordone for City Repertory Theatre

  20. elaygee says:

    Anyone who says “God says marriage is between one man and one woman” has proved they never actually read a bible. God said marriage can be between one man and as many women as he can support or even, who can support him” In addition, concubines (prostitutes who live in the house) are permitted and God even tells his prophets to have children with them.

    That bible also says that God likes slavery and gave man rules on where to get slaves and how to treat them, even laying out the exact fine for accidentally killing someone else’s slave.

    The bible book of fairy tales is not a law book. It’s a Grimm Brothers compendium of nightmare tales and fables from the darkside and I refuse to live by it. Just because it accidentally has a couple good sentences like “Thous shalt not murder (right before the one where God says you can kill shrimp and lobster eaters) is no reason to make it a “how to” book

  21. becky says:

    Please, if you are not a sincere Christ follower, don’t comment on Scripture. You have to take it as a whole. If one Scripture contradicts another, u don’t make doctrine out of it. If it doesn’t follow the spirit of the writings, not doctrine. If there were no Judeo/Christian foundations in this world, there would not be freedom or tolerance for others. All other religions would not allow homosexuals to practice and live out their lifestyle. That does not mean we change the laws regarding the institution of marriage. It just means u are free to practice as long as it doesn’t violate anyone else’s rights.

  22. elaygee says:

    Sorry but that bible is not for Christ followers. And you apparently have not read it either. It’s filled with God directed mass murder, explicit in its instructions to kill men, women and children, god directed adultery and incest and other horrors.

    And you can’t direct that we both follow the letter of its “laws” and “take it on its spirit” at the same time. Please keep your bible based laws and beliefs to yourself. They have no place in a cicilixed society.

  23. says:

    we get it up our ass everyday so we should be use to it

  24. starfyre says:

    a civil union,fine—but marriage of a man and another man,or 2 women is not a true marriage

    just like the kuran is not a true bible

  25. w.ryan says:

    CITY REPERTORY THEATRE will be a great place to explore this new dimension of relationships thru marriage. CITY REPERTORY THEATRE open its inaugural season with THE LARAMIE PROJECT on September 15 at the HOLLINGSWORTH GALLERY. Maybe we can open up some dialog through the viewing of this play. Keeping religion on the fringe, we could stand to do some reasoning on an equal footing. We’re all human regardless of what religion we follow.

  26. Dan says:

    Has anyone considered where “marriage” origin stems from? Marriage, has its roots as a Jewish “covenant”, thereby religious in nature, (and is between God, one man and one woman). If one actually studies the marriage ceremony, the resemblance become more clear. Also, I find it ironic that while God condemns homosexuality and immorality, the homosexual community demands their lifestyle to be accepted by God and the religious community. The authors attempt to establish a correlation between “Plessy vs Ferguson and “Gay” marriage is ridiculous. Marriage has been around much longer than any currently established government. Governments have recognized marriage. But they, (governments) never created, established, nor defined them.

  27. JL says:

    What are people so afraid of? We have more to worry about than whether two people, in love, want to get married and be together forever. ” most people aren’t inclined to put aside their upbringing, cultural and religious beliefs to change to this new covenant of marriage” Did you poll “most people”? I disagree with this. I was raised Methodist, and am now a Baptist. I am very religious. And I can certainly put aside any upbringing I had, cultural, religious or otherwise, to know that if two people love each other, they should have the right to be together, officially and otherwise. The church I belonged to preached Love and Understanding. The Pastor preached that God and Jesus loved everyone. Equally.
    That’s the church I belong to.
    Gays should be allowed the same benefits as a man and woman. The same respect, the same treatment, the same laws that apply to me should apply to all men and women, no matter what their race, religion, or sexual orientation. We are all God’s people. ALL. Amen.

  28. Patti says:

    I’m just amazed at how some folks are referring to Scripture? Are we all reading the same Bible here? If you want to read a fairy tail, read “Little Red Riding Hood”. We are not to judge, but are to hold each other accountable…big difference. Homosexuality is nothing new…let God deal with it. It just seems to me that our country was in better shape when we lived by our Constitution and the Bible. I’m not a hater…but where will we draw the line?

  29. Nancy N. says:

    Patti, our country was in better shape when? When women didn’t have the right to vote? When blacks didn’t have any rights under the law at all? When slavery was practiced? When women were considered property with no rights under the law? Exactly what “good old days” are you referring to exactly?

    For all of you preaching that marriage originated in the bible…have you ever examined what the purpose was of marriage in the times of the bible? It was a contract to secure property and inheritance rights by ensuring paternity of the children, and a way to make strategic alliances. Basically like it is today….only even more so, because there was no expectation of love at all. It was an arrangement of convenience and obligation.

  30. Rob says:

    I know a mother whose lesbian daughter told her after she and her lover split up, ” Love has nothing to do with it, we (gay community) are committed to getting together for the shock value it brings.” Sad, because they adopted a little girl and now they are split. I will also add it is sad when regular marriages break up also and children are involved. God says in Mal 2:16, “I hate divorce.” So, who is more wrong? Both.

  31. LogicalThinker says:

    For those idiots who say God said marriage is between a man and a woman, he also approved of slavery, selling your children, wearing clothes made from two different garments, and planting two different crops side by side. If you follow one part of the Bible you should follow it all, not have some selective hearing you simple minded fools.
    And for those who say being homosexual in unnatural, just like television, air conditioning, clothes, those are all natural of course. Homosexuality is found in over thousands of species of animals, homophobia is found in only one, what seems unnatural now?

  32. Liana G says:

    It’s very sad how people choose to reference the bible and or tradition to support their misplaced prejudices and selfish disregard for the feelings of other human beings. It is equally frightening that those same people are allowed to control the personal life and wellbeing of individuals who, by the way, pay their fair if not higher share of tax (single filers) and do get involve and participate in activities and organizations that benefit all of society.

    We get angry when the government intrudes too much into our personal lives. Let’s get just as angry with ourselves for intruding too much into these citizens personal lives and ruining their attempts at happiness by imposing our misplaced prejudices and selfish disregard for their personal feelings.

  33. StandforJesus says:

    I think everyone deserves love and respect no matter who you are but as far as indulging in a sinful act like homosexuality, it should not be condoned. Im a Floridian and im glad we stand firm against gay marraige. God loves everyone, even those who decide to be gay but he doesn’t love them being gay or choosing to live a lifestyle against his will. God is perfect and does not make mistakes, it is our sin as human beings that cause bad things to happen and because God gave us dominion over this earth, when we sin….we allow bad things to happen, this is why the world is not perfect.

    Leviticus 20:13 If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.

    Translation: If A MAN LAY WITH A MAN AS HE DOES WITH A WOMAN (homosexuality) it is a sin, and unrepented sin leads to eternal damnation and eternal damnation is the lake of fire for eternity.

    The moto of America was “IN GOD WE TRUST”

    What other God is there besides the one above, he gave us instructions and many of us purposley decide not to follow it.

    God is perfect and never does wrong…………why would he create a woman who wants to be a man (transexual) or why would he create a man who wants to be a woman. Who wants to talk like a woman, looke like a woman dress like a woman but yet you were born a man. On the inside you feel like you should have been a woman…why would God do that?

    The problem is our sin.

    Deuteronomy 11:26-28

    Behold, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse; 27 A blessing, if ye obey the commandments of the LORD your God, which I command you this day: 28 And a curse, if ye will not obey the commandments of the LORD your God, but turn aside out of the way which I command you this day, to go after other gods, which ye have not known.

    God gave us the power to dominate this earth. “Genesis 1:28 God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”

    That was all dandy until we disobeyed God and that gave satan power to operate on this earth and God warned us but we didnt listen and now sin operates on this earth as such.

    God hates sin but he loves his children and he only wants us near. Straight, gay, stripper, atheist……whatever you are there is a God.

    No religion can save you because you will never be perfect in either of them, you will break a rule at some point and thats where Jesus comes in. He died for us because he knows we will never be perfect so he did the dirty work for us. Now his only desire is for us to come close to him

    No matter how much you feel like you dont know him or you did too much dirty things in your life or he won’t accept or understand you. He just wants to love you. He wants to take away satans lies from you life and show you that the devil is not your friend, he is your enemy…the devil would never sacrifice anything for you, but God gave his life up so that you can live happy for ever after you leave this earth

    You earthly body is just a coating but you soul lives on forever….

    Jesus wants to change your life and put you in the right path, he’s not about religion at all, he already knows you but he would like you to get to know him, no matter what who were you are not matter what you ever did in your life he is there because he is omnipotent and omnipresent.

    If you never invite him in, you will lose forever. This world will pass aways someday but Jesus lives for evernity. No matter who you are,even if your gay now or married choose Jesus and let him direct your path and show you the truth.


  34. Ernesto says:

    Well first most comments on here are as backward and bigoted as I could ever imagine. For those that call homosexuality sin and quote the bible as support then say its a choice; I ask you when was it that you choose to be a heterosexual? When did you sit down and in all honesty came to the conclusion you would only be attracted to the opposite sex? I would like to know. Personally I did not choose to be attracted to tge same gender, I was born this way. I’ve never been any other way, since the day I was conceived; I’ve been gay.

    As for the authors interpretations of Florida and being someone born and raised in Florida, you can’t denial the accuracy. Our politics are out dated and absolutely discriminatory. Our education system lacks passionate teachers and interested students. Drugs are rampant,including marijuana; which I think should be legal. Our prison systems are packed with minor offenders costing tax payers millions. We drug test welfare recipients but not the ones who made the law. We have absolutely terrible congestion during rush hour. We have heavy, force you to the ground humidity. In Miami, you’ll get lost without an English translator. Overtowns perimeter is lined with barb wire. Central Florida is packed with “wood folk”, what I call old fashioned minded people. In reference to society, politics, government, business, prosperity and the what not. I can’t speak for North Florida since I’ve never lived there but as for Central and South they both need TREMENDOUS work and I believe the articles description of Florida are rather light and sugar coated and lacking in detail. However the fundamental point, is right on target.

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