Assembly Member Daniel O’Donnell talks to the NYT about the gay marriage bill currently waiting to be taken up by the New York state senate. The bill was approved by the Assembly last month by a vote of 85 to 61.
Says O’Donnell: “I want to be treated equally by the state I represent, and as it turned out, many of my straight colleagues in the Assembly support my right to be as miserable as possible. My ability to get a marriage license hurts nobody: Gay marriage is less harmful to straight people than Dick Cheney on a hunting trip. Growing up gay used to mean living in fear — of being outed, of being beaten up — but times have changed, and I no longer have those fears. My mom died of cancer at 39, my grandfather died of a heart attack at 51, and the only thing I fear now is that I die and don’t have the document that legally protects the man who taught me how to love. Civil unions aren’t really working in New Jersey. Marriage is an understood concept, and the reality is, until I’m able to say, ‘This is my spouse,’ it just doesn’t carry the same weight.”
He also discusses his sister, the more famous Rosie O’Donnell. Of Rosie (they are two of five siblings), whose statements on the view he acknowledges forced him to apologize to Asians in his district, he says:
“Celebrities don’t represent a constituency; I do. I didn’t run for office because I had a famous sister. It’s the opposite of what people think; it’s been more like something to be overcome.”
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New York State Assembly Approves Gay Marriage Bill 85-61 [tr]