BY PAUL SCHINDLER | It’s been a spectacular year since Marriage Equality New York (MENY; meny.us) held its last annual gala.
On June 24, a month after that event, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the state’s Marriage Equality Act, granting full civil equality under state law to same-sex couples.
As MENY turns its attention to the nationwide fight to secure federal recognition for married gay and lesbian couples and to win marriage equality in the more than 40 states without it, there have also been striking gains. Last week, President Barack Obama, after several years of saying he was evolving on the issue, stunned the nation with his announcement that “it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same-sex couples should be able to get married.”
Around the country, Washington State and Maryland have enacted gay marriage, LGBT advocates in Maine are confident enough in their ability to reverse a 2009 voter referendum voiding that state’s marriage equality law that they are headed back to the polls in November, and an appellate court upheld a San Francisco federal judge who struck down Proposition 8, though that fight is not yet over.
And there are other challenges, of course. The victories in Washington and Maryland will likely face repeal efforts in November referendums, North Carolina voters, on the eve of Obama’s announcement, approved a constitutional amendment barring gay marriage by a big margin, and a similar ban is on the ballot in Minnesota this fall.
On balance, though, MENY has plenty to celebrate on May 21 at its National Gala, We Are the American Family.
Honorees will include New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, who has been a fighter on LGBT rights in Washington on issues from repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell to federal rights for married gay and lesbian couples; out gay MSNBC anchor Thomas Roberts and his partner, Patrick Abner; and the Marriage Equality Campaign Group of B’Nai Jeshurun, an Upper West Side Jewish congregation that was among many faith communities that contributed to the marriage equality victory in Albany.
We Are the American Family takes place at the 404 NYC Event Space, 404 Tenth Ave. at 33rd St. on Monday, May 21. The VIP cocktail hour is at 6 p.m.; with a reception at 7 and dinner and awards at 7:45.
Tickets begin at $175, with VIP admission at $270, at https://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/232883.