CAUSE TO CELEBRATE Governor Andrew Cuomo, seen here at the annual Heritage of Pride March, was the architect and champion of New York's legalization of same-sex marriage.
At last, good news. After demoralizing reversals in California, Oregon, Maine, and Rhode Island, New York's stunning decision to legalize same-sex marriage rekindles hope in the hearts of decent folk across the nation who are working and waiting for the day when gender becomes irrelevant for all who wish to celebrate their mutual love and commitment by enrolling in the ranks of the legally married.
New York is not a microcosm of America. But it is a big and sprawling place. Upstate is rural and conservative. Downstate is urban and mainly liberal. And the anti-gay Roman Catholic Church has traditionally exerted strong influence in cities and suburbs throughout the Empire State. That same-sex marriage could win official legislative approval on complex political terrain such as this is evidence that miracles are possible.
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo was both the back-room architect of the gay-marriage victory and its most visible front-line warrior. Cuomo, in a statewide setting, reprised the performances of presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt (himself a one-time New York governor) and Lyndon B. Johnson in their respective achievements as champions of economic reform and civil rights for black Americans.
And while juggling the carrot and the stick of practical politics, Cuomo tapped into his family's tradition of eloquence.
According to the New York Times, Cuomo, in a closed-door meeting to persuade Republicans to join the fight for marriage equality, said this about gay couples seeking to marry: "Their love is worth the same as your love. Their partnership is worth the same as your partnership. And they are equal in your eyes to you. That is the driving issue."
FREEDOM TO GAME
The US Supreme Court's decision striking down California's ban on the sale of "violent" video games to minors is much more than creative victory for the gaming industry. It marks establishment recognition that gaming is an art form.
A sneering tone was unmistakable when Associate Justice Antonin Scalia wrote: "Reading Dante is unquestionably more cultured and intellectually edifying than playing Mortal Kombat. But these cultural and intellectual differences are not constitutional ones." Indeed they are not.
Modern film and rock and roll were once dismissed in similar terms; as was much modernist literature — Ulysses and Lady Chatterley's Lover being perhaps the two most striking examples.
Gaming is an aggressively popular medium. When measured in dollars, it long ago outstripped Hollywood.
The mainstream press has rightly hailed this decision (Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Associates) as a free-speech victory.
Squirreled away in the middle of the decision is a particularly welcome notion: that adolescents — teenagers — enjoy free-speech rights as well as adults.
Adults not only run the gaming industry, they have — for years — constituted the greatest part of the market. So it is sweet to see the court telling government to stop trying to censor video games for teenagers, the first adopters of this vibrant medium.
THE WAR AGAINST WOMEN
The peckerheads have won another series of victories in the largely Republican-sponsored war against women.