Last night, I was sitting in a Brooklyn restaurant chatting with a Famous Artist and his life-partner, the Respected Historian. In just about third bottle territory, a huge cheer went up from the table next to us, crowded with 20-something year-old straight hipsters. The cause of their excitement was an incoming Tweet: gay New Yorkers can now get married.
I was thrilled. I was also thrilled that these young New Yorkers were so thrilled, and so engaged. I thought it vaguely interesting that the Famous Artist and the Respected Historian were shruggy about the whole thing. I guess when you’ve lived in a same-sex partnership in New York for a couple of decades, you’ve outlived the marriages of many of your straight friends and you’ve fought to bring partner-rights into the workplace for fellow faculty members, it doesn’t seem so life-changing. But New York is an important voice in an important nation. It is high time that it raised that voice in recognition of the fact that no-body should, just because of who they choose to sleep with, be denied the right to agonise over prenuptual agreements, to spend an irrational amount of money on a symbolic ritual ahead of which one stresses about the guest list, the menu, the wardrobe, to argue about whether to file taxes jointly or separately, to wonder whether to get divorced before or after the kids graduate.
New York is has also finally passed a bill that ensures that no-one helping a drug user survive an overdose can be prosecuted for possession of drugs or works. Since overdose is one of the most important causes of “accidental” death in New York, and thinking you might wind up in jail is an important disincentive to call an ambulance for a struggling mate, that’s an important step. Now all we need is for the New York State Assembly to pass a bill that prohibits the use of condoms as evidence for prostitution. Apparently the New York Police Department are unhappy with the bill. Other police forces that have proven more enlightened on this issue include those nice cuddly boys in the Police Force of the Union of Myanmar (Burma, to the stubborn). Surely if they can swallow it, so can NYPD.
I’d write more about this but today happens to be New York Pride. I’m suspecting it will be a good party.