Gay Marriage Is Coming

Now that New York recognizes same-sex marriage, it's only a matter of time before Philadelphia recognizes it

Circle the wagons and gather the womenfolk, Rick Santorum. Same-sex marriage is a comin’.

With New York in the ‘plus’ column for marriage equality, it’s no longer a question of  if, but when same-sex unions will be recognized nationwide.

New York gives the initiative bright lights and the Big Mo – as in ‘momentum.’

Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont all deserve major props, but they don’t have the weight to create a national tipping point.

New York, as of late Friday night, became the key domino in the current equality chain. In addition to being the most populated of the six states to legalize same-sex marriage, it is the first with a Republican-controlled legislature.

And when  Republicans –or in this case, ‘Cuomosexuals,’ in Stephen Colbert’s words—vote for queers’ right to marry, it’s time to book the hall and call the caterer. Here come the brides!

A May Gallup poll found that 53 percent of Americans support same-sex marriage–the first majority for advocates and up nine percent from a year ago. Not surprisingly, approval was strongest among 18-to-34 year-olds; weakest among those 55 and older.

It’s only a matter of time before more state lawmakers, and voters, realize they’re on the wrong side of history on this one. Like Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and Defense of Marriage Act at the federal level, state statutes against same-sex marriage ultimately will be seen for what they are: fear-driven and hateful, as were prohibitions against mixed-race unions.

I mean, if John Edwards and Arnold Schwarzenegger represent heterosexual marriage, how much worse can queers screw it up?

It may be quite a while before Philadelphians get the chance. Pennsylvania law defines marriage as “between a man and a woman,” and state legislators are in no hurry to change that, despite 63 percent of Pennsylvania voters’ supporting same-sex marriage, according to an April poll by Public Policy Polling.

Financially, same-sex marriage is a no-brainer for any state. Over the next 18 months, New York City will take in an estimated $200 million in ‘destination wedding’ revenue–hotels, restaurants, reception halls, caterers, florists, etc.

Queer New Yorkers who in the past might have traveled to Vermont or Massachusetts or Toronto can now get married in their own Zip codes. Conversely, gays in New England or Iowa may choose to tie the knot in glamorous New York City.

The New York vote created instant international buzz in the social media, including the Facebook page of the Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corp.

“You can’t buy that kind of global marketing,” says Jeff Guaracino, the organization’s vice president, communication. “It makes our job a little harder.”

Guaracino, who created GPTMC’s award-winning campaign, “Get your history straight and your nightlife gay,” adds: “We must continue to remind people that Philadelphia welcomes gays and lesbians.”

That is precisely what Guaracino did in his congratulatory message to New York on Facebook. “We’re one step closer to what our Founding Fathers promised us in the Declaration of Independence,” he wrote, “which was signed in Philadelphia.”