So, our newest Governor of New York has taken the most forceful executive action he can in support of equal marriage rights for all. Given his background, this isn’t at all surprising — I’m surprised (shocked?) only because I didn’t know his history.

I was chatting to a friend about the California decision earlier this month, and was firmly of the opinion that Spitzer’s scandal has conservative New Yorker’s so up in arms about anything even hinting at “improper sexual mores” that getting them to consider equal-under-the-law policies for all of us immoral homos would be well-nigh impossible.

I hadn’t considered that the Governor is a supreme diplomat. I hadn’t considered Patterson’s history of putting his votes where his ethics lie, and leaving both clearly on the side of “equal treatment for all.” (As B said with all of the ironic laughter of which he’s capable, “How dare the governor of NY take the extreme stance that all people be treated equally! I mean really!?! Where does an blind, African-American get off making these kinds of outrageous statements about the need for equality”?) In other words, I went cynical and didn’t look at the details.

I’m so, so happy to be eating those words now and getting my optimistic groove back.

As stated in yesterday’s article, this move by Governor Patterson is “a temporary but necessary fix for a longer-term problem, which is marriage equality in New York State.” There are still battles to be waged, for certain, but it feels as if both sides are meeting on an equal field, rather than being ambushed from the woods or accosted by a Trojan Horse.

In my sixth grade Social Studies class, we spent an entire week — 45 minute classes on 5 consecutive days — learning about the phrase “We the People of the United States.” A group of twenty eleven-year-olds figured out that “We the People” means all of the people — even those we don’t like, even those we don’t agree with, even those who’ve done something everyone else thinks is wrong. We have the right to agree or disagree, but only so long as everyone else also has that right. People are people are people are people are people. “Separate but equal” is wrong. Exceptions in the name of discrimination are wrong. Blatant, intentional, condoned inequalities in the civil rights and responsibilities of our citizenry is a violation of everything right and good, ethical and moral.

P.S. If you’re in the Capital Region, check out New York Now tonight for commentary from Susan Arbetter on the Governor’s policy.