The real threat to marriage?

Straight people! We've been screwing it up for decades, says Sen. Diane Savino

Published December 3, 2009 1:22AM (EST)

Just as my sadness began to sink in over the news that New York state had rejected a gay marriage bill Wednesday, it was -- dun-da-duh! -- Sen. Diane Savino to the rescue. A video clip (posted below) of the Staten Island Democrat's comments from the State Senate debate earlier in the day was all it took to lift that cloud of depression. We know her comments didn't actually make a difference, the bill didn't pass -- but that doesn't change how extremely righteous her speech was. I tell you, my response to her remarks ranged from actually pumping my fist in the air to tearing up in my cubicle.

Savino humbly acknowledged her own privilege as a straight woman: "I'm over the age of 40 -- and that's all you're going to get from me -- but I have never been able to maintain a relationship of the length or the quality that [Senator] Tom Duane and [his partner Louis Webre] has," she said. "These are relationships that I envy, and in fact we all should envy. All they ask for is to be treated fairly and equally." She didn't let off straight folks that easy, though: "We in government don't determine the quality or the validity of people's relationships," she continued. "If we did, we would not issue three-quarters of the marriage licenses that we do." Savino still wasn't finished excoriating hypocritical heterosexuals: "If there's any threat to the sanctity of marriage in America, it comes from those of us who have the privilege and the right -- and we have abused it for decades."

She also went after The Wedding Channel, "The Bachelor" (in which "30 desperate women will compete to marry a 40-year-old man who has never been able to maintain a decent relationship in his life"), brides who throw away obscene amounts of money trying to be "a princess for a day" and the way "young women are socialized from the time they're 5-years-old" to fantasize about their wedding day when "they don't spend five minutes thinking what it means to be a wife." The stand-out statement from her must-watch speech came at the very end, however: "We have nothing to fear from people who are committed to each other and want to share their lives and protect one another," she said. "We have nothing to fear from love and commitment." Bravo! The woman deserved a standing ovation.

By Tracy Clark-Flory

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