A young professional’s take on the trials and tribulations of everyday life in New York City.
By Nina Pajak
New York State again finds itself on the cusp of doing the right thing. At least, in my opinion.
If one more Republican Senator can find it in his heart to make like Roy McDonald and say, “Well, f— it, I don’t care what you think. I’m trying to do the right thing,” we could become the next state in which gay marriage becomes legal. We’re so close! Frankly, like most serious marriage proposals, it should have happened long ago. Have you seen the list of states who beat us to this? Vermont, okay fine. I’d expect that. Even Massachusetts, I’ll be generous and give us a pass there. But New Hampshire? Come on, people! Have a little self-respect. I mean in no way to denigrate the fine folks of New Hampshire, but I bet even they’re scratching their heads over the fact that we’re eating their dust. This is how we represent ourselves? New Hampshire, for gosh sakes…mumble mumble grumble…
I’m excited. I’m hopeful. It’s going to happen this time, I can feel it. And why not? Frankly, the “why not” has always been baffling to me. Okay, so some groups of people have certain strong feelings about homosexuality, and the odds of their minds being changed by any argument, no matter how logical or impassioned, is low. To zero. Honestly, it’s probably closer to zero. Fine.
But since when does everyone need to agree on everything?
Since when does one person’s personal choices affect another?
I would imagine that the devout Christians who oppose gay marriage would also oppose the fact that I eat meat on Fridays during Lent and do as I please on Sundays—and treat Christmas like it’s my birthday party. Orthodox Jews are probably offended by my lack of Sabbath observance and my deep and abiding love for pulled pork. They’d all likely object to my interfaith marriage and our plan to raise our children “culturally both or whatever.” But it isn’t illegal, and the fact of the matter is that they don’t have to like it. More importantly, they don’t actually care.
Maybe they think they care in theory, but in reality they don’t. And why should they? They don’t know me, and I don’t know them. My existence is completely meaningless to those who stand in opposition of this bill, and yet my lifestyle is, in many ways, just as appalling to their beliefs. I fail to see how two men or two women marrying in any way threatens anything they’ve built for themselves. Their marriages should remain quite intact, and if those relationships suddenly mean less because people of whom they disapprove have the same thing, well, I think it’s time for some personal reflection and introspection.
In a blog post, Archbishop Dolan wrote, “Our country’s founding principles speak of rights given by God, not invented by government…” Really? Our founding fathers also held slaves. Women were second-class citizens and African Americans were not even considered people. Let’s not lean too heavily on that tenet, because it’ll shatter. From its creation, this was supposed to be and ought to be a country in which people are not judged, are free from persecution, religious or otherwise. But this isn’t just about our country. This is New York! We’re open, we’re progressive, and we accept everyone in all shapes, colors and sizes. We’re a shelter in a storm! We let our freak flags fly. And if all that doesn’t work for you, there is one undeniable phrase that should resonate with every New Yorker regardless of his or her beliefs. And it should end this awful argument here and now:
None of your [bleeping] business.
Dear Readers: While I am rarely at a loss for words, I’m always grateful for column ideas. Please feel free to e-mail me your suggestions.
Nina Pajak is a writer and publishing professional living with her husband on the Upper West Side.
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