On Cusp of Historic Same-Sex Marriage Vote, a Neighborhood Reflects

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Gay Street in the West Village. (Stephen Nessen/WNYC)

New York is one vote away from approving a gay marriage bill, and in the West Village — a Mecca for the nation's gay liberation movement of the 60s and 70s — residents are waiting for what many call a long-overdue change to the law.

Richard Granger, a West Village resident, has lived in the neighborhood for 30 years and was around during the notorious riots of 1969 that helped spark nationwide awareness of gay rights issues at the Stonewall Inn on Christopher Street.

"New York is supposed to be such a sophisticated state that it's about time they passed it here," said Granger, sitting in a park across from the Stonewall Inn as politicians in Albany continued to wrangle over the fate of the same-sex marriage bill Wednesday afternoon.

"It is a milestone," he added. "It certainly wasn't around years ago, and I'm sure people will take advantage of it and get married here."

Nelson Alton, 50, who works at Housing Works in the West Village, said he travels to Albany about 10 times a year for various equal rights advocacy causes.

"That would be another continuation from where Stonewall started, all of that had a reason, and purpose and it’s time for change," Alton said. "It's just another process, another step."

Alston, who is gay, said he doesn't plan to get married, but "if people are together as partners, they should be able to have the same legal standards as anybody else that are so-called married with a certificate."

A younger generation that grew up after the Stonewall riots are hopeful the bill will pass but are also preparing in case it fails.

Standing outside the West Village Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center, Michael Rivera, 22, an LGBT advocate, said he's prepared to keep working hard if the bill doesn't pass.

"Although we only need one vote and that seems as close as ever, it's still going to be one of the hardest challenges,” Rivera, said.

When asked if he would consider getting married, he pauses a second and decides: "Yes, I want to get married, in New York and nowhere else."

Bonnie Slotnick's Cookbook store has displayed the two Barbie dolls for several years now and added the
Stephen Nessen/WNYC

Bonnie Slotnick's Cookbook store has displayed the two Barbie dolls for several years now and added the "Make it Legal!" sign.

Richard Granger, 50, has lived in the West Village for over 30 years. He hopes the gay marriage bill passes.
Stephen Nessen/WNYC

Richard Granger, 50, has lived in the West Village for over 30 years. He hopes the gay marriage bill passes. "It’s something that's been done in other state,s so now it’s here. I don’t think there's going to be any celebreation, but I hope there is,” he said.

Christopher Park across from the Stonewall Inn at Christopher Street and 7th Avenue has these sculptures to commemorate the gay rights movement of the neighborhood.

Gay Street in the West Village.
Stephen Nessen/WNYC

Gay Street in the West Village.

rainbow flag, LGBT, gay pride, pride
Stephen Nessen/WNYC
Stonewall Inn on June 15, 2011.
Stephen Nessen/WNYC

Stonewall Inn on June 15, 2011.


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Comments [14]

Jack Blair from the East Village from Hoboken, NJ

Not - there is no "East Village," dingbats.

Jack Blair

Jun. 16 2011 10:10 PM
David from Bronx

Ed from Larchmont:
Disaster will follow? - Just like the rapture I'm sure! HAHAHAAHAHAHA

Jun. 16 2011 07:58 PM
JC from Brooklyn

Why is it that straight people can marry and divorce as much as they want? If marriage is so precious and needs to be defended then ban divorce. Gays should be allowed to marry and afforded all the legal rights that come with marriage.

Jun. 16 2011 01:42 PM
James from Manhattan

Allow me to briefly don the mantle of Conspiracy: I wonder how many of these negative comments are being left by people from out of state, conservative interest groups and the like who go across state lines to campaign against gay marriage. I mean, "Rick from Chelsea" -CHELSEA? Seriously?
Far more close to home, I'll remind you New York City, that we still have our northern hinterland brethren up north to deal with....

Jun. 16 2011 12:35 PM
SRD from Brooklyn

What bothers me is that people still can't seem to seperate church and state. Marriage is a civil right, not a religious one. We don't live in a country where all marriages are performed by members of the clergy in order to be legal. So, why not extend it to same-sex couples who are already commited to each other? Why should me, my partner, and my friends be treated like second-class citizens?

Jun. 16 2011 12:04 PM
V Whiteside


No, you are wrong on this issue. This a public radio station that addresses issues that pertain to all people, not just the angry, ignorant and prejudice.

Jun. 16 2011 10:18 AM

Happy about it but it s receiving way too much media attention. This is not a gay advocacy radio station.

Jun. 16 2011 10:11 AM
Barry Blitstein from Midtown

Marriage equality is a civil right; one among many. That it should have taken so long to achieve (assuming, at this moment, it will be achieved even now), is a shameful reminder of how flawed our democracy is; how subject it is to prejudice, ignorance, fear, demagoguery.

Jun. 16 2011 10:05 AM
V Whiteside

What's amazing is that there are so many hateful post on a NY website. I'm shocked over the hate, the ignorance, and the narrow minds who have posted here. What a shame to see!

Jun. 16 2011 09:51 AM
T.C. from Brooklyn

All of you who just commented...are complete morons..the hell is wrong with you..idiots.

Jun. 16 2011 09:06 AM
herb from nyc

a very, very bad idea. very, very bad. noit good. ......................

Jun. 16 2011 08:56 AM
Ed from Larchmont

Whenever the nation takes a step away from the moral law, there is a disaster. What disaster will soon follow if New York passes same-sex 'marriage'. We'll see.

Jun. 16 2011 08:01 AM
susan Buckler from Lower Fifth Avenue

Bonnie Slotnick Cookbooks is a
rare, gem of a bookstore. It's lovely to know she also has "heart"!

Jun. 15 2011 11:47 PM
Rick from Chelsea

Gross...let's hope the New York Senate does the right thing and rejects this ridiculous bill. Same-sex marriage is not marriage, period.

Jun. 15 2011 08:03 PM

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