As I listened to the debate and subsequent vote over the marriage equality act in the New York state Senate on Thursday, I couldn't help but beam with pride as the “yes” votes were cast.
I thought lifting the ban on gay marriage was the right thing for the state to do and I was overwhelmed with emotion that 33 of the state's 62 senators agreed with me.
Yes, I realize that there are many of you out there who disagree and are dismayed at our state Senate. I also realize that this column isn’t going to change your mind. And, to be honest, I’m not one to gloat. But I would like to revel a bit in all the new possibilities.
For one, think of the new revenue streams that same sex weddings can bring into the state. I didn't like this benefit as a reason to pass the bill, but I think it's a great side effect of its passage.
I know we tend to forget what a draw it is, but Niagara Falls – despite its drawbacks – is still a world-class destination for travelers both foreign and domestic. And while I'm pretty sure the ship sailed on it being the “Honeymoon Capital of the World” quite some time ago, there's nothing to say we can't be the gay honeymoon capital of the world.
Same sex couples can get hitched in the Falls, book receptions, motels and spend massive amounts of cash here … on this side of the border. I'm talking about private dollars being spent on private enterprises.
Sad as it may seem, I'm thinking a reality show has got to already be rolling around in someone's head. Maybe they follow a specific couple. Or maybe they follow around a member of the clergy who specializes in gay marriage. I haven't worked the details out in my head yet, but Hollywood's got to be thinking of it.
A reality show based in Niagara Falls would have to mean more tourists, and as such, more revenue for hoteliers, restaurateurs, and the like.
And, like it or not, more weddings will eventually mean more divorces. While I certainly can't get excited about this, I can only imagine that divorce lawyers are licking their chops at the new opportunities.
And not just lawyers, but marriage counselors, psychologists, etc. Yes, the downside of marriage is profitable for some.
Again, these side effect benefits aren't reason enough to support gay marriage, in my opinion, but they might help make the concept more bearable for those of you who opposed the idea.
As for me, I'm just happy that gay couples can join in on the party that the rest of us were invited to … just by having been born straight.
Strangely, Thursday night I sat at my desk, listening to the arguments being made and the votes being cast, overwhelmingly happy for thousands of people I'll never meet.
I hope that those of you who disagree with the concept can set aside that difference and be happy for them, too. And if not, try to figure out a way to make a buck on it.
After all, the only thing more American than equality is capitalism.