City Council Majority Leader Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside), the only openly gay member of the City Council who is also married, was about to head into a press conference Friday morning when he learned the Supreme Court had ruled that states cannot ban marriages between gay and lesbian couples.
He held back tears.
“It is a big deal for all of us, for every person in this country,” Van Bramer said of the 5-4 decision. “This is an amazing moment for our nation, for our families … Some of us never thought [this] would ever happen in our lifetime and it’s so amazing to know that not only here, in New York City, but in every city, in Alabama, Tennessee, Wyoming and Wisconsin, that the gay and lesbian people are 100 percent fully equal in this county and that our relationships and our marriages are fully equal and fully deserving of every protection.”
Michael Mallon, president of the Lesbian and Gay Democratic Club of Queens, said in a phone interview he was feeling “jubilant and ecstatic” over the news.
“The five members of the Supreme Court of the United States have got this one right,” Mallon said, calling the ruling a “big step in the right direction.”
Mallon said many in the community knew however the ruling turned out would have an impact on the LGBT pride festivities set for that weekend.
“Our concern was that Pride 2015 was either going to be jubilant or a disappointment,” he said. “This day will go down in history.”
He noted that there still need to be rights put in place for members of the transgender community and that there are many homeless LGBT youth. He added that it’s disappointing that four out of five ruled against “equality and justice.”
“I look forward to a day where a decision on basic human rights doesn’t pass by a slim majority,” Mallon said.
City Councilman Danny Dromm (D-Jackson Heights), who is also openly gay, said in a prepared statement that the milestone should inspire people to address other LGBT issues, such as youth homelessness.
“Marriage is finally equal,” said Dromm. “No longer will there be gay marriage or heterosexual marriage — just marriage. As someone who has been in the gay rights movement for over 40 years, it is difficult to express my sentiments. I never thought I would live to see this day.”
Friday morning, many other officials sounded off in prepared statements.
“Thanks to today’s ruling, same-sex couples across the country will no-longer be treated as second-class citizens when it comes to issues regarding the family,” said Queens Borough President Melinda Katz. “This is a great day for those who believe in the dignity of all people.”
City Councilman Donovan Richards (D-Laurelton) said many can be proud of the democracy shown by the ruling.
“The Supreme Court’s ruling today on marriage equality reassures the founding principles of this great nation,” said Richards. “When two people love each other, they will no longer have to worry about expressing that love to each other, and what better way to express it than through marriage.”
“I am very happy that the Supreme Court has ruled in favor of same-sex marriage in all 50 states,” said Assemblyman Mike Den Dekker (D-Jackson Heights), who has been a longtime advocate for LGBT rights. “All Americans deserve the right to marry who they love, and receive the benefits that come with that right.”
Gary Gilbert, a longtime Jackson Heights resident and the community liason for Den Dekker, said in a phone interview that it’s still disappointing it was a 5-4 decision, compared to Canada’s Supreme Court’s 2004 decision finding LGBT marriage could be legalized.
“Legally married same-sex couples will no longer have to wonder how to file state and federal income tax if their states do not recognize their marriages,” he said in an email.
City Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park), who had been against legalizing same-sex unions but has since changed his position, joined the conversation on Twitter, addressing some dissent in his party.
“I’m truly disappointed that all of the major GOP candidates for POTUS are on the wrong side of history on the issue of marriage equality,” he wrote on Sunday, using shorthand for President of the United States.