Kramer: N.Y. Marriages “Embarrassment”

By Trudy Ring

Originally published on July 25 2011 3:05 PM ET

To writer and veteran gay activist Larry Kramer, the arrival of marriage equality in New York State is not cause for celebration, but rather “an embarrassment” due to the lack of federal recognition of same-sex marriages.

“These marriages, in whichever state, are what I call feel-good marriages,” Kramer told The New York Times for a story published over the weekend, as the first ceremonies took place. “Compared to the benefits heterosexual marriages convey, gay marriages are an embarrassment — that we should accept so little, and with so much hoopla of excitement and self-congratulation.”

Some others, while celebrating the marriage rights available to New Yorkers, cautioned about the challenges remaining. “It’s a huge step forward, and yet it doesn’t erase the fact that there’s so many roadblocks facing advocates of marriage equality,” George Chauncey, a historian at Yale University and author of the book Gay New York, told the Times.

Chauncey added, “Most of the time, an awful lot of the nation doesn’t want to be like New York at all. I suspect that many people will take this as one more sign of what happens in the Northeast, and in New York in particular, that they don’t want to have happen in their own communities.”

Many advocates, however, thought the events in New York would only push the nationwide fight for equality forward. “New York really reflects and signifies that the center of gravity on this question has shifted,” Evan Wolfson, founder and president of Freedom to Marry, told the paper. “It gives us tremendous momentum for continuing the journey the country has been on toward fairness.”