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Gay rights landmark in New York City bill

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The passing of the gay marriage bill by the New York legislature is an act of political courage and conviction that should be applauded.

The work of Governor Andrew Cuomo in ensuring passage was phenomenal. He has been a deeply impressive governor in the short time he has been in office.

As Irish American City Council Speaker Christine Quinn who is gay noted, “It’s hard to describe the feeling of having the law of your state changed to say that you, what you know in your heart is true, that you are a full member of the state, and that your family is as good as any other family.

“And tomorrow, my family will gather for my niece’s college graduation party, and that’ll be a totally different day because we’ll get to talk about when our wedding will be and what it’ll look like, and what dress Jordan, our grand-niece, will wear as the flower girl. And that’s a moment I really thought would never come.”

That is what it is like when barriers are broken. The sun rises the next day and the world goes on just like before, and we should all feel a little bit better about ourselves.

It was thus when Lincoln freed the slaves, when Jackie Robinson played baseball, when an Irish Catholic became president, and when a black man became the U.S. president.

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In all those cases, bigots protested the loudest and complained that the natural order had been overturned. They even cited the Bible, incredibly, as the reason to keep slavery.

The reality eventually hit home, however, that what Lincoln called the “better angels” of human nature took over and triumphed.

The notion of the Good Old Days, much beloved in many circles, never existed. Slavery, racism, No Irish Need Apply were part of those days too. Anti-gay discrimination was also rampant.

The founding fathers talked about a more perfect union, one that would bring a better America to the forefront, with all its faults the country we live in has brought that perfect union closer over the past 50 years.

And it will be the same now, except we will live in a more equal society where in New York consenting adults are free to marry and, hopefully, enjoy the same rights no matter their sexuality.

Let us hope it is not too long before the rest of the country follows suit, and discrimination on the matter of sexuality is forever buried.

New York has shown once again its strength is its diversity.

Hopefully the rest of the states will follow.

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