but I don't even want to be married!

[we've only been together for 12 or 13 years]

But definitely not a requirement. Marriage. Not for every couple, but it must be their choice only.

The two quickly-improvised signs pictured above were those we held while we were standing behind speakers at a press conference held below the steps of New York City Hall early yesterday afternoon. We were there along with, I guess, almost 300 others [the maximum number of the non-sports-fan public "allowed" to get anywhere near our seat of government at one time, as it turned out*] attesting to the right of all Americans to enter into marriage contracts certified by the state.

Specifically, we were challenging the mayor of the City of New York to tell the City Clerk to issue licenses to any couple requesting them. We maintain, with excellent legal opinion to support us, that the state's constitution does not restrict marriage to opposite-sex couples.

It seems that victory is inevitable. What is in doubt is when it will happen, and the manner and degree to which individual politicians will shame or honor themselves in the interim.

the media setting up before the speakers arrived

Council Speaker Miller and, starting counterclockwise from his left, Councilmembers Chris Quinn, David Yassky, Tom Duane and Phil Reed

what looked like a group of hundreds of supporters was kept from entering the grounds surrounding City Hall, but they maintained a chorus of protest in the background

* Even long before September 11 Mayor Giuliani had effectively removed the public, and in particular any public with an opinion likely to be opposed to his own, from access to the area around City Hall. Fallout from the World Trade Center disaster and a murder of a City Councilmember in chambers further compromised people's right of access to their representatives, but something of a compromise has since been worked out under the current, Bloomberg administration. Today's Newsday story on the Gifford Miller's press conference made an exceptional reference to this issue.

City Hall's security detail turned away about 100 supporters, enforcing a rule that allows a maximum of 300 people to attend a news conference. The event was peaceful and there were no arrests, although some who were standing on the street or in City Hall Park, shouted, "Let us in!"

smile addendum
Overheard while we waited for the proceedings to begin: [Two young men behind us were animatedly discussing the Judy Garland biography of films shown on television recently, but their enthusiasm was quickly redirected when they spied a certain great, breezy, white-haired activist as she approached the steps] "Oh, there's Ann Northrup! Love her!"

Well, she is a star.