Advocates Grow Weary as Same-Sex Marriage Bill Remains in Limbo

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

As the New York State legislature slogs through an extended session in Albany, the long wait has taken a toll on the hundreds of advocates who have flooded the capital building in the last weeks and vowed to stay until issues such as same-sex marriage are duked out.

The fate of the same-sex marriage bill still languished in the Republican-led Senate on Tuesday, meaning more days of missed school, more nights in a crammed hotel room and more hours-long trips to Albany for many demonstrators on both sides of the debate who have descended on Albany.

"It's taxing," said Melissa Kleckner of Hoboken, N.J., who is rallying in favor of same-sex marriage. "We were hoping we were going to go home on Friday in victory, and we ended up going home to an angry rally that we put together on the fly because nothing is happening. Everything is stalled and it’s just tiresome. It's frustrating. We're all exhausted."

Kleckner said she woke up at 4 a.m. Monday to get back on a bus to Albany — with her 9-year-old daughter Avalina Gray in tow.

"My mom woke me up in the middle of the night because she told me they were going to be voting this week and there was nobody to drop me off at school, so she just took me," said the fourth grader who is missing her final week of school.
Drag queen Daniel Azraea Bracciale, who is sharing a two-bed hotel room with four people and has spent several nights sleeping on the floor, said packing for three days can get complicated.  

"I brought a small make-up kit for drag," Bracciale said. "I brought drag clothes. I brought boy clothes. Most of the clothes I'm wearing now are also my boy clothes. I feel this state capital wear.”

Some advocates are trying to drive back and forth each morning to avoid the challenging task of packing for an indefinite period of time. 

Michael Kicinsky said he plans on making the 2-1/2 hour trek from Earlville, N.Y., each day until there is a final decision. Kicinsky opposes same-sex marriage and said the trip is a small price to pay.

"This is a sacrifice for everybody," he said. "Our legislators have caused an interruption in everybody's personal lives."

And Rose Ann Hermann, a same-sex marriage supporter, has been driving from Washington Heights every day since last Wednesday.  

"I go home and realize my house is a mess because I haven't been home," she said. "I manage to do laundry, and I basically put the dishes in that I left from breakfast into the dishwasher, because except for breakfast, we're basically not eating any meals at home."

The long sessions away from home means barely seeing family. Jason McGuire, executive director for evangelical and anti-same-sex marriage group New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms, said he makes the four-hour drive from Rochester to Albany every Monday after spending the weekend at home

"I come prepared for about a week at a time," said McGuire, who spent Father's Day ironing and drying socks, "and so the gist of it is, I better get home quick or I'm going to have my own marriage problems to deal with."


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Comments [10]

Beks from NYC

Arturo, don't forget about the ELCA Lutherans! My wife and I got married in Connecticut last year by the pastor at my parents' church. We were surrounded by friends and family and it was (pardon the cliche) the happiest day of my life. And the relevance to this blog? That event did not take away from anyone else's rights. In fact, I'd venture to say that nobody reading or commenting on this blog post had any idea our marriage occurred, or even cared. If my marriage didn't hurt you or affect you in any way, shape or form, why are you fighting so hard against this bill that would allow NYers the same equal treatment offered in CT?

Jun. 22 2011 03:55 PM
Arturo from New York

RXN your assumptions and understanding regarding the relationship between procreation and marriage are flawed on a number of levels. First, CIVIL marriage is different than the SACRAMENT of marriage. Second, the sacrament of marriage is available to opposite sex couples REGARDLESS of whether they are able or intend to procreate (my mom got remarried at 58). Thirdly, it is abunduntly evident that heterosexuals can procreate without having to be married. Fourth, through the assistance of a third party (a male or female as needs be), same-sex couples CAN and DO procreate. Fifth, under the Equal Protection Clause of the American Constitution, same-sex couples ARE entitled to the marital covenant conveyed by government (marriage licenses). Each individual house of worship or denomination is free to determine whether they will bless such couples. The Episcopalians, Unitarians, United Church of Christ, Quakers, and Reformed Jews have already decided in favor of doing so.

Jun. 22 2011 01:19 PM
James from Shokan

I'm getting so tired of all of this biblical quoting. Either the entire thing is true and must be followed to the letter, or it is written to tell a story. If I hear one more Leviticus quote then all of them must be practiced!
I want a slave - which is ok, as long as they're from Mexico or Canada,
I want to sell some of my nieces to someone else - the bible doesn't say what would be a fair price,
I want to kill my neighbor who mows his lawn on the sabbath,
I would enjoy killing some of my male friends for cutting their hair,
and I'm really sick of seeing people touching the skin of dead pigs - which is unclean - when they play that sport, football!
Besides, anyone who wears glasses, can't approach the altar of God anyway because they are imperfect!!
Do you grow more than one vegetable in your garden? You're damned........

Jun. 22 2011 08:19 AM
Ed from NYC

Here's the real problem with gay marriage - hardly anyone will benefit from it and if it is passed, hardly anyone will use it.

The percentage of gay people is around 3% of the population. Within that incredibly small percentage, an even smaller percentage is planning to get married and many, many, many gay men and women will never get married to another member of their own gender.

This is completely unlike voting rights or equal education. This is about an extremely small percentage of the entire population winning the propaganda war by saying gay people "love" just like heterosexuals when an incredible amount of heterosexuals want to marry and most homosexuals don't want to marry and don't plan to do so.

It is rights in name only; most don't plan to exercise said rights. It is really not about the rights - its about making the argument that gay love is EXACTLY like heterosexual love. Anyone can see that it is not.

Does that mean I believe gays are less than? Absolutely not nor should they have any less rights. But neither should single people. Its not about the rights.

A naturally occurring aberration, which is what homosexuality is, should not be punished nor should it be equated with the norm. It should be accepted as it is but it is crazy to equate it with heterosexuality regardless of whether able to procreate or not.

The equal rights for blacks were really about vital issues like education and voting and housing and would immediately benefit everyone within that class. It is not the same for gay marriage. This is absolutely the gay agenda at work and its winning the war of words but never the war of logic.

Jun. 22 2011 08:14 AM
Kevin Donohue from Kingston, New York

RXN - the law (and I think most churches) allows infertile couples to marry - people who are past child bearing age, or, as in the case of one of my sisters, someone who has survived uterine cancer. Also, LGBTQ people do have children - through adoption, sperm donors, or surrogates.

Love makes a true family, and love is never deviant.

Daniel - although not indicated in the caption, all three people in the photo are quoted in the article, so perhaps that is why the author chose it? I also think the photo shows the wonderful diversity of the people backing equal marriage rights. I love everyone who is there fighting for my rights - they are all making huge sacrifices to be up there and it is exhausting work!

Jun. 22 2011 12:03 AM
Daniel Tyrell from Winchester, NH

I am amazed by this reporters ability to slant a story with just ONE image. I was right there at the rally today. Say the interview. Amazed that this reporter interview very few people and only took pictures on one person dressed in drag. Funny thing is, there was ONLY ONE person in drag. Thanks for targeting the GLBT with a stereotype.

Would it be rude for me to speak of the ethnic origins of the reporter? Yes. Would it be somewhat a stereotype? Yes.

I am for same sex marriages. I drove 3 hours to be there today. I was just appalled at what I was seeing happening right in front of me by this reporter.

As she was "going to file" her story I was tweeting this injustice. It's a sad day when a reporter looks for a visual instead of actually working for a story. Asking Questions and Listening for the Answers.

WNYC is needs to issue an apology to the LGBT community and release this "reporter" from service.

Thank you.

Jun. 21 2011 11:38 PM

tsk_tsk is right... the argument that marriage was created for a man and a woman because of procreation is simply a rewriting of history. there was plenty of procreation before the state got involved in providing marriage licenses, and the church has always wanted to ensure the sanctity of marriage to keep track of whose child is whose, not because it ever thought that marriage was needed to ensure that children would be produced. i don't think anyone would argue that if marriages went away altogether, there would be no more births... the two are completely unrelated.

as long as the state grants non-religious rights to married couples, then under the premise of separation of church and state, those rights should be granted to same-sex couples. if you don't think god would grant his approval for a same-sex union, that's fine. your church doesn't have to bless the union and you are free to have the opinion that your marriage is superior to a same-sex one under god's eyes. but the state does not have the authority to make that judgment.

Jun. 21 2011 07:34 PM
Tsk_tsk from Gotham City

Yes, "marriage" is meant as a blessing on a union that produces children ... but it arose from the need for a man to know who his children were (in the millenia before DNA assertion was possible).

But ... it turns out that marriage nourishes the participants and the community. It encourages stability, which helps children ... no matter what the gender of their caregivers. There are few jobs for which the sex of the applicant is important.

As soon as someone states that some kind of sexual expression is deviant ... you've introduced bias into the equation ... and fear. What about adoption? Is that deviant? "Interracial" marriage was once outlawed too. What does race even mean?

If you are theophilic, then you have to believe G_d made us as we are ... homosexuality exists in nature, not simply with humans ... the world is as perfect or imperfect as it will ever be ... we are G_d's hands and eyes and ears while we live: didn't Mother Teresa say that?

Kindness and love go much farther than fear:

"His mind was full of fear and doubt: he drew a circle that shut be out. But Love and I had the wit to win: we drew a circle that took him in." That's a rhyme I learned in childhood, at a Christian school.

Jun. 21 2011 06:38 PM
RXN from Queens

No one should discriminate against gays. But since they cannot procreate and cannot create a child, they should not be entitled to the marital covenant that exists between persons of the opposite sex who can create a child. Marriage is related to procreation, not just any idea of sexual union, no matter how deviant.

Jun. 21 2011 06:20 PM
Jim from SOCAL

The Religious/Republican folks want any marriage bill to include their "right" to discriminate against gays. For example, a Catholic landlord could refuse to rent to a married gay couple. But could a gay couple refuse to rent to a Catholic? NO WAY! Their religious freedom is protected. We need Civil Rights for all!

Jun. 21 2011 05:13 PM

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