Last Friday, history was made in New York State as the State Senate voted to become the sixth state in the US to legalize same-sex marriages. I found this out Shabbat morning as the paper was delivered and felt my heart swell with emotion as tears began to flow. It's a beautiful thing to know that one day, I will be able to have a New York "husband", even though I do know that I will never have an Orthodox Jewish marriage to a man. I know that we will be respected with the same rights every heterosexual couple has, taxes, insurance, employment benefits and the like- the things that I grew up knowing that every normal adult heterosexual couple has to deal with, are now relevant for homosexual couples as well. It helps me feel as "normal" as I know that I am.
Sunday morning I awoke and got down to Bryant Park where I met up with many gay friends- Orthodox and non-Orthodox, to have a bagel and cream cheese brunch followed by the New York City Pride Parade. The group of us stood by 34th for about an hour or two, watching gorgeous celebrations of men, women, children and the like, show their support and their pride for the lifestyle they lead. I got caught up in emotion as Governor Cuomo, a proponent of same-sex marriage, passed by, and the crowd roared with cheers of thanks and excitement, for a politician who actually kept to his promise. The tears began to flow once again, and only continued as a car passed by with Dan Savage, and his partner Terry Miller, the founders of the "It Gets Better" project. From a distance, they noticed the contingency of Yarmulkes on the side and held up a sign that said "thank you" and pointed it at us.
Soon Congregation Beit Simchat Torah, the largest Jewish LGBT congregation in New York, passed by with their float and members of JQ Youth ran out into the streets to dance with them. I was particularly encouraged to march with a flag I borrowed from a friend- a pride flag with a Jewish star in the middle, brought directly from Tel-Aviv. The march was invigorating and exciting as onlookers were shocked to see religious individuals and people celebrating religion while celebrating their sexuality. I posed for hundreds of cameras who simply pointed to the flag in awe. By the end, my feet were killing me but my heart was full. I understood the word "pride"- from a Jewish sense and a gay sense.
Last year, I couldn't bring myself to march. I thought it was inappropriate, I thought religion and sexuality could never be mixed. But as I have grown over the past few years, the two have finally seemed to find a resting place within me, and I couldn't be more proud.