My governor is better than your governor. And not just because he was rocking Under Armor. Yesterday David Patterson became the first New York governor to march in pride, walking with City Council Speaker and open lesbian Christine Quinn. It wasn't another case of political tokenism; he gets it:
The most significant move Mr. Paterson has made toward broadening gay rights in New York was an order he issued in May that directed state agencies to recognize same sex marriages performed outside of New York.
That order built on the policies of the Spitzer administration, which had been planning to issue the same directive before Mr. Spitzer resigned in March. David Nocenti, who was Mr. Spitzer’s legal counsel and now holds that role in Mr. Paterson’s administration, drafted the order earlier this year. It was to be issued once the state’s highest court ruled on a February decision by an appeals court in Rochester that said the state must recognize same-sex marriages performed in other jurisdictions, even though New York does not itself allow gays and lesbians to marry.
Responding to the purely evil Arizona group's attempt to sue to prevent the order from going into effect in New York, Paterson defended his actions to the New York Times
“It is the law and it is the right thing to do. I stand by it,” he said. “If someone would like to go to court and waste their money and prove me wrong, they can do that. And I welcome that.”
Compare that with Obama, who "doesn't believe in gay marriage." The Times neglected to mention crowd size, which British press reports put at one million. A nice warmup for next year, the 40th anniversary of Stonewall.
Elsewhere: San Francisco celebrated with renewed passion thanks in part to legalized same-sex marriage, Seattle's parade drew 400,000, Paris had at least half a million, and Berliners took a harder, longer pounding of rain than we had. Also at a million spectators, Toronto's pride included active duty Canadian servicemembers in uniform for the first time; nice, but by far the day's bigger firsts belonged to Bulgaria and to India, which saw Delhi's first ever gay pride parade as 500 people marched through the city of 14 million. Remember, homosexuality is still illegal for the 1.1 billion people who live in India, another legacy of the British Empire, which introduced a "crimes against the order of nature" law with its infamous Section 377. It was drafted in 1860. On Wednesday, India's High Court will finally hear a challenge to it. Long time coming.
Right wing extremists urged followers to disrupt pride parades by throwing eggs and fireworks at the legal gay marches in the Czech Republic, where police in the second largest city Brno had to use tear gas on the crowd, and in Sofia, where marchers celebrated Bulgaria's first ever gay pride. Let's make sure we spend less time promoting the intolerance of the sixty skinheads arrested and take more time to celebrate the pioneering bravery of the one hundred fifty Bulgarians marching for their pride.