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Eminence, the emeritis cardinal archbishop of HGN

Sunday, June 26, 2011

June - Gay Pride - and Weddings

Today Gay Pride celebrations reach a climax in New York City with the Pride Parade. June is also a traditional month for weddings. This combination makes the legislative victory for gay marriage in New York so wonderful for the Pride Parade there today.

Friday evening I listened for a long while to a live feed from the Senate debate in Albany regarding gay marriage. One of the best speeches of the evening was the one by Senator Mark Grisanti, a Catholic and a republican. Grisanti talked about his Catholic upbringing and how he struggled with the concept of marriage being between a man and a woman. He added that he was also an attorney and that the more he struggled with this issue and thought about it; he had to conclude that gay and lesbian people had these same rights to marriage that he and his wife had. In an earlier interview with a Buffalo newspaper Grisanti said: "If I take the Catholic out of me, which is hard to do, then absolutely they should have these rights," In the end, reason won out. Here is a link to his speech. Senator Mark Grisanti's Speech for Gay Marriage

I admire the struggle and soul searching of someone like Senator Mark Grisanti. That effort is not something new for gay and lesbian people. We have been doing it for a long time. My hope is that more and more people will embrace that struggle in the honest and respectful way in which Senator Grisanti did. I am confident they will come to a similar conclusion.

Yesterday I attended a wedding in the garden of gay couple. The wedding was between a man and a woman. One of the persons getting married was a staffer for a member of Congress.That member of Congress was there.  This congress person has taken strong stands on behalf of gay and lesbian people. The congress person was comfortable in the garden and environment of the gay hosts. So were the two people getting married. This is the second straight wedding that has taken place in that gay garden. I wonder how long it will be before my two gay friends will be able to be married in their own back yard.

While at the reception I was sitting with one of my gay neighbors and he held out his wedding ring. It appears to be just like the one his partner wears. The design is the same except for the diamond. Then he told the story of the diamond. It first belonged to his partner’s grandmother. When his partner was preparing to marry a woman he was dating, he gave her an engagement ring with that diamond. Two weeks before the wedding my friend said his partner realized he could not go through with this wedding. Everything was called off. The engagement ring with the diamond was returned. Now my gay friend wears a ring with that diamond. These two men have been together for almost twenty years.

June is Gay Pride month and a month for weddings. I want to celebrate the victory for gay marriage in New York, not only for the equality it brings but also for the honesty that it allows. The honesty that this new law allows means a person does not need to pretend to be someone he or she is not. Now, at least in New York and several other states, it is possible for two people who really love each other who are gay or lesbian to get married.

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