BroadwayImpact.com organizes a star studded marriage equality rally to rave reviews (5/17/09, NYC)
Come Senators, Congressmen
Please heed the call
Don’t stand in the doorway
Don’t block up the hall
For he that gets hurt
Will be he who has stalled
There’s a battle outside
And it is ragin’
It’ll soon shake your windows
And rattle your walls
For the times they are a-changin’
(Bob Dylan, The Times They are a Changin’)
Despite the setback of California’s Proposition 8 in which the religious right out maneuvered the progressive community and managed to convince a majority of voters that somehow marriage equality meant the end of the world as we know it, steady progress is being made. Five states (Massachusetts, Connecticut, Maine, Iowa, Vermont) have already passed laws ensuring that all couples, straight or gay have equal rights under the law and New Hampshire’s governor has said he will soon sign the marriage equality law passed by its legislature. Without the explicit protection of legally recognized marriage, committed couples and families in the gay community will continue to face discrimination in health care, child rearing, housing, education, banking, estate taxes – virtually every aspect of society that recognizes the institution of marriage.
Recognizing this civil right will have absolutely no affect on those of us outside the gay community except to know that we have finally moved one step closer to equality and justice for all. Marriage Equality legislation has passed the NYS Assembly in Albany (as it did in 2007) and is strongly supported by Governor Patterson and many other prominent NY politicians (e.g., Mayor Bloomberg). All that’s in the way of enacting this legislation as law in NY State is passage in the State Senate. There are another six weeks remaining in this year’s session and lots of people have taken on the challenging task of convincing the Senate to pass the bill.
To this end, Broadwayimpact.com, led by actors and behind the scenes technical staff organized a rally for marriage equality in NYC on May 17, 2009. Not surprisingly, the production values were Tony nomination quality. The art direction was top notch – posters were suitable for framing (perhaps they will become available as a means to raise funds). Sound engineering was spot on – we got there early and the sound crew was busy doing their thing to make sure that the crowd that stretched for blocks could all hear the music and speakers. Even Mother Nature got an award nomination (lighting?) for holding off the rain that threatened all day.
From the opening curtain that featured the cast of Hair (which literally just finished their show and marched the several blocks east in full makeup and costumes) to heart rending speeches by long term, committed gay couples and families (including actors Cynthia Nixon and David Hyde Pierce) and the voices of the future (Gavin Creel, lead actor in Hair) the crowd was energized. A group of clergy was on hand to demonstrate their support and thank the organizers for holding the rally in the late afternoon as they were in church all morning praying for passage of this historic bill.
In Act Two, they rolled out the big guns including Tom Duane, openly gay State Senator and sponsor of the marriage equality bill in the NYS Senate, NYS Assemblyman Daniel O’Donnell (sponsor of the victorious Assembly bill), Mayor Bloomberg and Governor Patterson. Both the mayor and the governor gave impassioned speeches that sounded heartfelt and not just politically expedient. Considering that we still have an uphill battle this position is not exactly playing it safe politically. In fact all of these politicians are to be applauded for their political courage shown in getting out in front of this issue because they know it is the right thing to do.
Many other members of the NYS Senate are not inclined to such courage or enlightenment and will need to know that we, their constituents are ready for, nay are demanding that they step up to the plate and pass this bill NOW. That means we have to do our jobs in spreading the word to everyone we know in NYS to contact their State Senator and let them know that it’s time to get out of the doorway, out of the hall and into the Senate chamber to pass this civil rights bill. Broadwayimpacts.com has made that easy too…You can go to their website listed below to get information on who your State Senator is and how to reach him.
For more information go to: www.broadwayimpact.com