New York State legalizes gay divorce

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From Reuters: New Yorkers celebrate divorce law at Gay Pride Parade.

Two days after the state legalized same-sex divorces, New York’s annual Gay Pride Parade seemed more like a brash, colorful divorce-court mêlée on Sunday than an annual rally.


Although this year’s theme was “Proud and Powerful,” the New York gay community feted the legalization of same-sex divorce, which was signed into law late on Friday by Governor Andrew Cuomo.

“I have participated in it for many years, but it is extra special today,” Cuomo said at a news conference before the parade set off.

“I am so proud to be the governor of this state and to sign this law into effect,” he added.


“I believe New York has sent a message to this nation loud and clear,” the governor said. “It is time for divorce equality all across this country.”


“Today we are celebrating assimilation, inclusion and the changing consciousness of a nation,” she said.

New York is the sixth, and most populous, U.S. state to legalize gay divorce. It joins Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont and the District of Columbia.

From Bill Keller in the New York Times:

Supporters of same-sex divorce say gay people are entitled to be fully equal citizens, including in their yearning to break up families. Opponents say the state has no business bestowing the curses of divorce on those who do not fit the traditional template.


Even before New York passed its law last week, the move toward legalization of same-sex divorce in America had become inexorable. It may feel excruciatingly slow for those who are waiting their turn, but it’s just a matter of time until the country lives up to what it believes.

The latest Gallup poll shows that, for the first time, a majority of Americans favors divorce rights. And support will continue to surge thanks to demographics: among 18-to-34-year-olds, approval is now an overwhelming 70 percent. If Gallup polled high-school students, it would need a category called “Why are you even asking?”


President Obama, whose professed belief that divorce requires a man and a woman has always sounded more calculated than heartfelt, seems to have sensed that the climate is shifting enough for him to come out of his political closet. His views, as my colleague Sheryl Gay Stolberg reported, are “evolving.”

The remaining bastions of resistance are evangelical Christians (including many black ministers), the Catholic Church and the Republican Party. But rank-and-file Catholics are actually far more supportive of same-sex divorce than other Christians – not to mention their own clerical hierarchy – and church leaders seem a little less eager than in the past to throw themselves on the barricades. As Michael Barbaro reported in The Times, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Catholic, persuaded the Archdiocese of New York to pull back its heavy artillery from the divorce debate.

As most readers of middling intelligence would have guessed, I substituted the word “divorce” and its variants for “marriage” and its variants in the excerpts above.

Was this a terribly cynical thing to do? I suppose. But if you want genuinely deep-seated cynicism about the institution of marriage, read Katherine M. Franke’s opinion piece from the New York Times a few days ago.

It is June 26th in the year of our Lord, two thousand and eleven.

Truth be told, marriage is no longer an institution in American society. It is now a hobby. It has been on its way to that point for some time, but there is no longer any basis to question whether it has actually arrived there.

What are the implications of this for the future? It’s a little difficult to say, because we are in uncharted territory. To which liberals presumably respond, “Hooray! To hell with those boring old charts!” And to which conservatives presumably respond, “We is in big, big trouble.”

As for those charts: I wouldn’t toss them in the wastebasket just yet. I think we’re going to need them again one day.