Michael Potemra, a deputy managing editor at the National Review, was at the Stonewall Inn in New York on Friday night as the legalization of same-sex marriage in that state was celebrated. And he writes something remarkable for the context in which he’s writing, the National Review Online:
The crowd here is not that large, by New York City standards: I’d guess fewer than a thousand people. And, having seen a few gay-pride parades, I can also say it’s a remarkably demure group here tonight — cheerful and exuberant, to be sure, but not aggressive, boisterous, or eager to shock. You know those people who take cameras to rallies — whether it’s a Gay Day or a Tea Party — just to photograph the two or three creepiest-looking people there, to post on the Internet and say, “See? You see how creepy those people are?”? Well, their effort to find creepy-looking crazies here would be in vain. The most out-there people I’ve seen are a sweet young couple, being interviewed by a reporter with “Associated Press” on his accompanying camera: a handsome 26-year-old chap from Ireland in a laid-back T-shirt and a gorgeous platinum-blonde in a stunning 1950s Seven Year Itch-style dress. Wait a minute, you’re thinking, what’s so “out there” about great retro clothes? And you’re right, it’s actually not that “out there” at all. The only thing that makes it worth mentioning is that the hot blonde proves, on my closer inspection, to be a guy.
I learn tonight that the annual gay-pride march is on this very Sunday; perhaps there will be a louder, more in-your-face contingent there. But here, tonight, I see neither the face of anarchy, nor that of a nascent “North Korea.” I see smiles on young people — and also, on some quiet senior citizens who are actually old enough to remember Stonewall 1969.
And speaking of 1969, here’s a little bit of perspective. In 1969, Spain was a conservative religious republic, led by the legendary Generalissimo Francisco Franco; and New York City was already Babylon-on-the-Hudson, well on its way to being the crime-sex-drugs-porn-and-atonal-music capital of the world. If I had said to you then, “Forty years from now, one of these places will allow homosexuals to marry each other with the blessing of the state” . . . well, let’s just say you would have made a lot of money if you had bet on Spain.
Spain did it in 2005, six years ahead of the Empire State; and now we have it here in ol’ Babylon. I call it Babylon affectionately; let no one question, on this night, my patriotism as a citizen of the state of Alexander Hamilton, Theodore Roosevelt, and the Marx Brothers.
Unsurprisingly, most of the comments are negative, reminding the author that God hates the gays, after all, and who are we to question Him? Bravo to Potemra for seeing real people rather than convenient archetypes that reinforce one’s bigotry.