gay New Yorkers finally win the right to make mother-in-law jokes

Well, this is certainly a sweet moment:

[T]he Senate vote marked the first time a Republican-controlled legislative chamber in any state has supported same-sex marriage, and several prominent Republican donors contributed to the lobbying campaign on behalf of the bill.

Jim Alesi was one of the four Republican senators who supported the bill — after voting against gay marriage just two years ago in a decision he says was political.

“Even though there are only four Republicans who voted for it, the bill would never have passed if it hadn’t been brought to the floor by the Republican majority,” he told NPR’s Rachel Martin.

I say this is sweet, but really, it ought to be unsurprising. Respect for marriage is a conservative value. Sexual fidelity is a conservative value. Encouraging the formation of strong families is a conservative value.

Even back when I was very religious and sort of iffy about homosexuality, I always thought gay marriage and gay adoption were a good idea, because you were at least encouraging people to have healthy, fulfilling relationships and take part in raising children, even if they were sleeping with someone of the, you know, “wrong” sex. Or as Andrew Sullivan, who is gay and at least nominally conservative, once put it:

Conservatives have long rightly argued for the vital importance of the institution of marriage for fostering responsibility, commitment and the domestication of unruly men. Bringing gay men and women into this institution will surely change the gay subculture in subtle but profoundly conservative ways. When I grew up and realized I was gay, I had no concept of what my own future could be like. Like most other homosexuals, I grew up in a heterosexual family and tried to imagine how I too could one day be a full part of the family I loved. But I figured then that I had no such future. I could never have a marriage, never have a family, never be a full and equal part of the weddings and relationships and holidays that give families structure and meaning. When I looked forward, I saw nothing but emptiness and loneliness. No wonder it was hard to connect sex with love and commitment. No wonder it was hard to feel at home in what was, in fact, my home.

For today’s generation of gay kids, all that changes. From the beginning, they will be able to see their future as part of family life — not in conflict with it. Their “coming out” will also allow them a “coming home.” And as they date in adolescence and early adulthood, there will be some future anchor in their mind-set, some ultimate structure with which to give their relationships stability and social support.

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