New Yorkers took to the streets yesterday by the thousands to show their opposition and support for marriage equality, and the atmosphere at the two separate events couldn't have been more different.
The pro-marriage equality rally organized by Broadway Impact and held near Times Square brought out Gov. David Patterson, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, NY Assemblyman Danny O'Donnell, and state Sen. Tom Duane. The cast of he cast of Hair performed along with Audra McDonald, multiple Tony Award winner and star of the ABC drama Private Practice. Sex and The City star Cynthia Nixon also made an appearance.
Gay marriage supporters held up signs that read "Separate Is Never Equal" and "My Lesbian Sister Is A Better Parent Than Miss CA Could Ever Be", a direct jab at the separate and unequal institutions of domestic partnerships, civil unions, and the controversy over the new Anita Bryant, Miss USA's Carrie Prejean.
The anti-gay marriage event held uptown by the rabidly anti-gay NY Senator Ruben Diaz attracted thousands of participants bused in(mostly from out of town) who staged a protest in front of NY Gov. David Patterson's Manhattan office. Diaz is an extremely vocal opponent of marriage equality and is considered to be a huge roadblock in ensuring the marriage equality bill passes the Senate.
"The evangelicals stayed mostly very positive, I will say, delivering nothing by smiles and heavily-accented "Jesus loves you" type messages as they passed the 50-60 LGBT activists waving "Thank You, Governor" placards and banner, notes blogger Joe My God who was in attendance.
The throngs of protesters waved their weapon of choice-the bible- and screamed as if Jesus himself had returned to earth when Sen.Diaz appeared. You would think blacks and hispanics would understand the struggle for civil rights. Truly sad. Columnist Bill Withers said it best, "Oppression does not equal enlightenment about others. It just means you are at the bottom looking up." Get into videos from both rallies below.
Photos courtesy of Bernie Tarver & Joe My God