As you no doubt know, on Friday, Feb.27, the mayor of the village of New Paltz, New York, conducted marriage ceremonies for 21 gay couples in front of a cheering crowd. (Click here and then click again to enlarge the glorious picture.) He was quoted as saying, “Absolutely, I’ll be doing this again.” (For more on the mayor, look here – tip to Kevin Drum.)
So, today (Saturday, Feb.28), my wife and I packed up our 3-1/2 year old to drive the hour south, hoping to be part of the celebration. We were going to have our daughter pass out flowers. Alas, the village offices were quiet. Still, we had a pleasant day – the town seemed to be buzzing, and we overheard bits of several conversations along the lines of: “Wasn’t it great how everybody turned out together in support.”
The legality of the marriages is not obvious – the New York State Consolidated Laws on Domestic Relations are surprisingly unclear on the issue of gender. I found what I would consider to be an implicit assumption that marriages are between a man and a woman in several places, such as article 4, section 50: “Property, real or personal … owned by a woman at the time of her marriage … shall not be subject to her husband’s control or disposal nor liable for his debts.” I’m no lawyer, but this hardly seems definitive.
Stonewall was over 30 years ago. I don’t know how these particular cases will eventually be decided, but here’s hoping that in 30 more years, we’ll look back at these past few weeks as another turning point.
Why does it seem that only minor and local officials are willing to lead this issue? I think they are doing the right thing.