Why This Black Woman Is Happy to See Same-Sex Marriage Legalized in New York

This is a time to celebrate love, not judge

Posted: 07/01/2011 12:00 AM EDT
Filed Under Gay Rights

Let’s hear it for New York! The concrete jungle where dreams are made of, there’s nothing we can’t do—including marrying someone of the same sex. A week ago today, the Senate voted to afford same-sex couples the right to wed without prejudice. I would expect nothing less from this great state. This makes New York the sixth and most populous state in the nation to legalize gay marriage.


Like many, I am a New York transplant. Over seven years ago, I traveled from my birth state of Virginia for a new life here in this Mecca of unbiased and infinite possibilities. In the Big Apple, I’ve pieced together a family of friends that I hold near and dear; a small group of individuals straight, gay and lesbian that make up a beautiful kaleidoscope of eclectic characters who openly and freely live their lives without apology. Like most friends, we have clocked in countless hours on the phone, desperately trying to decipher the complex ways of love, rehashing the greatest hits of dating in New York City and consoling each other during the worst of romantic disappointments. There is no difference between the heartache my gay friends experience and the pain I endure as a heterosexual woman. These are basic human experiences that transcend sexuality. Like Oprah has been known to say: “All pain hurts the same.”


According to CNN, several African-American church leaders sang their way to Albany’s steps of justice, opposing their fellow children of God’s right to love in peace. They sang spiritual hymns that once brought solace to men and women who fought for the right of racial equality.  It saddens me that those hymns are now being used as a tool of homophobia.


There are those who stand very strongly in their disdain and, sometimes disgust, as they opt to pass judgment on the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) community. However, this equal rights movement is not about sex. Ask any married couple and I am sure they will agree: By the time most make their way to the altar, the novelty of sex has worn off.


Furthermore, I am always disturbed when I hear my fellow sisters complain that all the “good” men are gay. Single ladies, please don’t fall prey to the fictitious fear of a “man shortage.” You are not losing your good man to a gay man. Your prince has not been plucked out of your fairy tale—gay men were never in your dating pool. Sadly, your frustration is due to the overwhelming number of frogs. A black woman not finding a “good black man,” has nothing to do with gay men.


LGBT Pride Month came to a close yesterday, so let’s not look at this triumph for our LGBT brothers and sisters as a desecration of the sanctity of marriage. Let’s welcome this new wave of love and commitment into our collective communities and celebrate that love can indeed conquer all. In addition, this legalization of same-sex marriage in New York State gives me hope on my search for the day when I say my wedding vows. How can I expect to find a love of my own if I can’t celebrate in the genuine joy of others, regardless of sexual orientation?

(Photo: AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

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