All the News that’s Fit to Print on New York Marriage Equality

Hey everyone! As you probably know by now, New York made gay marriage legal last month. It was met with widespread celebration and lots of proposals. Now, the gays of New York will finally get a chance to put on a ring on it this Sunday, when the Empire State’s first same-sex marriages will be performed.

As you can imagine, there is a huge rush to the altar for that first day; many couples have been waiting for years to say “I do.” So New York City is running a lottery for couples who want to be married on the 24th, to knock the thousands of hopefuls down to a more manageable 764. Mayor Bloomberg explains:

We’ve done our homework, and it’s clear that the number of couples who want to marry on Sunday is more than the city clerk’s offices could possibly handle. And the last thing we want is for couples to wait on line for hours and hours, only to walk away upset on what was supposed to be the happiest day of their lives.

However, queer New Yorkers are divided on whether the city’s way of managing things is the right one. Alan Miles of Chelsea thinks it’s “the fairest, best way to ration out those slots,” and is relieved he won’t have to camp out by the clerk’s office; Maria Romagnuolo of Staten Island thinks just leaving the office open would be better, and calls the lottery “a total joke.” My favorite quote on the subject, though, has to be the one from City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn, who explains: “We want to make sure that Sunday is not like a trip to Motor Vehicles.”

via cnn.com

All the official details are here. The lottery runs until noon on the 21st (that’s today!), and the winners are notified the next day. Each borough has its own lottery and its own limit; 400 for Manhattan, 112 each for Brooklyn and Queens, 98 for the Bronx and 42 for Staten Island. Already, 2,661 online applications have been filed, about 1,728 from same-sex couples. Dan Amira from New York magazine has something to say to those other 933:

Hear this, straight people: Maybe it’s convenient for you to get married over the weekend, or maybe you just like the novelty factor of tying the knot on a historic day. But the opportunity means a hell of a lot more for gay couples. Every spot in the lottery occupied by one of you means a gay couple misses out on an experience with much deeper personal significance. This is no way to act, straight people…[it's] kind of a dick move. And the only dicks at the city clerk’s offices on Sunday should be the ones in the pants of the gay men who are finally allowed to get married, for the first time ever.

But regardless of the gay/straight ratio, July 24th will set the record for the highest number of weddings in one day in New York City, far surpassing the previous record of 621 from Valentine’s Day 2003. Naturally, the New York government can’t help but take advantage of this unique opportunity to sell their state, launching a special tourism campaign oriented around gay marriages. Business partnership NYC & Co is running ads to encourage same-sex couples to come to the city to get married. Upstate, popular honeymoon destination Niagara Falls is also cashing in on the event, with a group wedding ceremony to be held July 25th at Niagara Falls State Park, and a new “Rainbow Romance” travel package.

via photobucket

Of course, not everybody is happy about New York’s Big Fat Gay Wedding fest. State Senator Ruben Diaz (D-Bronx), an extremely vocal opponent of marriage equality, plans to rain on everyone’s parade this Sunday with a rally outside of the governor’s New York City office, which he is also marching to the UN building. Diaz says: “We will continue this fight and we will struggle to get what’s right.” What’s perhaps most ridiculous about Senator Diaz’s plan are his stated reasons for why gay marriage is wrong. The New York daily News reports: “Diaz…classif[ied] it as fiscally irresponsible to open government offices on weekends during dire financial times.” Seriously?

On a more interesting note, Episcopal Bishop Lawrence Provenzano of Long Island has ordered that, now that queer New Yorkers can marry, Episcopalian clergy(wo)men must wed their same-sex partners in the next nine months or stop living together. Bishop Provenzano explains that he is only trying to be fair: “I need to be mindful that the church has always asked people to live in committed monogamous, faithful relationships. I won’t allow heterosexual clergy to live in a rectory of church housing without the benefit of marriage.” No other Episcopal dioceses in states where gay marriage is legal have set such limits, though. But Bishop Provenzano has noted that there wouldn’t really be a punishment for those who do not comply, seeming to make it more of a formality than anything.

And one last note: If you’re a New Yorker (or anyone else) getting gay-married, be sure to check out Autostraddle’s wedding giveaway! Deadline July 25th!

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Rose is a 24-year-old Detroit native currently living in Boston, where she is working on her master's degree in musicology. Classical music, history, 1960s rock bands, cartoons, cats, Diet Coke, old movies and the Detroit Tigers are just a few of her favorite things. Besides Autostraddle, she has also written for Bitch and her own media-analysis blog. You should follow her on Twitter and Tumblr.

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32 Comments

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    “But the opportunity means a hell of a lot more for gay couples. Every spot in the lottery occupied by one of you means a gay couple misses out on an experience with much deeper personal significance.”

    I found this statement sort of offensive. I am a queer person in an “opposite sex” couple. I am not looking to get married anytime soon, but I live in New York and was so elated by the news that I could get married without feeling like a cheat. Maybe some of these “straight couples” are looking to get married for the “novelty factor,” but it may also be deeply personally significant for others.

    /”feelings”

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      But would it be as significant for you to marry your opposite sex partner on that day no matter how significant it is to you personally? I mean, it’s really a celebration of same-sex marriage, no matter how you identify, so it matters more if you want to same-sex marry on that day as opposed to if you want to opposite-sex marry, right?

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        Yeah, I’m bisexual, and I’m in agreement with you, Sweet. Even if you’re a bi in an opposite-sex coupling, you’re still in an opposite-sex coupling – you still have had the freedom to marry your partner for a very long time. And it’s a little insensitive to take over the first day that same-sex couples can do that, when you consider that many of these people have been planning to get married for many years or even decades – usually a lot longer than any straight couple does, even those doing a “long engagement.”

        I’m one of those few queer people who actually likes it when straight people do the “we’re not going to get married until gays can” thing. Because personally, even if I were to marry a man, I could never do it in a state that wouldn’t let me marry a woman. It would just feel wrong. At the same time, though, I would still feel like I was getting in the way if I married a guy on that first day.

        Nosidam is right, though, about the bi erasure in the article, and the fact that he assumes people in “opposite marriages” (to use Carrie Prejean’s term, lol) can’t be queer. I would have commented on that, but I have lots of weird, conflicting feelings about that article and kind of wanted to just leave it there to hear what people in the comments had to say.

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    This whole “straights getting married on sunday!” issue is just a misreading of the numbers.

    The 2,661 application number is the total number of couples who have filed for a license since July 5. These licenses are good for 60 days, so this stat is not telling us the total number of couples (heterosexual and same-sex) that want to get married on June 24, but the total number that have applied to get married within two months of their application.

    From the Advocate:
    “Approximately half of the 2,661 couples that registered online plan to marry on Sunday, according to the city clerk.”

    My guess is that the vast majority of those planning to get married on Sunday are from the 1,728 same sex couples, not the 933 heterosexual couples that have registered for licenses since July 5.

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    First of all the United States of America is founded on Christian principles even the constitution is based on the Bible. This may sound naive or self-righteous but this is the truth. I’m afraid the reason why the United states is slowly deteriorating first financially then second morally is because they have turned away from the Biblical truths and Christian principles wherein this great nation was established. New York has become the modern day Sodom and Gomorrah and remember what happened to this city.

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    While I understand Sunday will be a special day for same sex couples, many of whom have been waiting for years to get married, some of the opposite sex couples who may want to marry on Sunday could possibly be motivated by solidarity for same sex couples. This historical event would never happen if it weren’t for support from straights. IMO, to tell someone they can’t get married on Sunday because they are straight, is not better than telling gays they can’t get married period.

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      See, Amira acknowledges that in his article – and points out that it’s a pretty shallow stand of solidarity when by doing so, you are blocking same-sex couples from getting married that day. Because every opposite-sex couple in the lottery lowers the chance a same-sex couple will get married that day.

      I love when opposite-sex couples wait to get married until everyone can do so in their states. I don’t think it’s too much to ask to really give some respect, and not clog up the halls on that first day.

  5. Pingback: Religious People are Excited for Same-Sex Sunday Weddings, Too – Village Voice (blog) | Bridal Cashback

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