Saturday, 25 June 2011


Posted by Tania Kindersley.

Imagine you are a politician. Imagine you could pass a piece of legislation which would make millions of people very, very happy. It would not just affect those directly named in the bill, but also their families, friends, neighbours, beloveds. It would vastly add to the sum total of human joy. It would right a historic wrong. It would advance equality before the law, in a land whose very founding elaborated the principle that all men are born equal. (The founders did not mention women, but I like to think they are born equal too.) It would make some people very cross, but their crossness would pass, as they moved on to find some other object of enragement. The ones to whom you bring joy, though, will have happiness to last a lifetime.

Wouldn’t you do it?

That is what Governor Andrew Cuomo managed last night, against high odds, when he signed into law a bill making same sex marriage legal in the great state of New York. I think it’s absolutely bloody marvellous. I bless him and all who sail in him.

Here is what some people looked like, when the news broke:

New York legalises same sex marriage, from the Stonewall Inn by James Keivom

At the Stonewall Inn in the West Village; picture by James Keivom.

New York Senate passes gay marriage bill by Cindy Schultz

And in the New York Senate Gallery, as the votes were finally counted; picture by Cindy Schultz.

Imagine you were a politician. Imagine you could put that look on people’s faces.

It even made The Pigeon smile:

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Actually, that is such a big lie. That face is because I had just thrown her stick for her. Marriage equality, sticks; we all get our joy in different ways.


Now for some pictures from the garden:

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As I took these, the sounds of a wedding across the way drifted over. People were laughing; there were three cheers; a piper struck up. How appropriate, I thought. Not quite a big gay wedding, because here in Blighty it is still civil partnerships. Go on, Coalition, I thought: why not pass a bill that makes people look like this:

New York celebrates by Jessica Rinaldi

(Photograph by Jessica Rinaldi.)

I came inside to write this, and heard the oystercatchers making a wild song outside the window. I looked out, and to my amazement, I saw they had their chick with them. I have never, ever seen an oystercatcher baby before. I know one must not get too sentimental about animals, but it was the most adorable thing I had ever seen. It felt rather symbolic on this happy day. The parents were teaching it to look for food, digging away for worms and then encouraging it to copy them. As you may imagine, I got rather carried away with the camera:

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See how brilliant the camouflage is against the granite:

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And off they go:

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Talking of sweetness, could not resist one more Pigeon:

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The hill:

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I hope you are having a lovely weekend, wherever you are, but special greetings to the New Yorkers, who did a wonderful thing.


  1. "Marriage equality, sticks" that I'll add dark chocolate.


  2. How truly, truly wonderful. I find it fairly worrying that I had to search quite hard on the interweb to find reference to it: not a mention can I see on the BBC or any mainline UK news pages. It is right, it is fair, it will one day be the norm and hence *really* not newsworthy. I so hope I will live to see that day.

    (As a matter of interest, I *think* - I may be wrong - that it's Andrew Cuomo (Mario's son) that has signed the measure into law - but hey, it's all in the family.)

    And the baby oystercatcher! How fantastic. I've never even seen the adult version outside Pensthorpe (our local wildlife park), much less a chick: beautiful, beautiful.

    It's the first really sunny day we've had in Norfolk for a week or two, just in time for an open gardens day in one of our villages. Thank you for good news and baby birds to go with the sunshine.

  3. Yes, it is Andrew Cuomo, the current "rookie" governor of New York who got the bill passed. He's the son of Mario, former 2-term gov of NY. I hope you don't mind me sharing a link to an article about this from LA Times. It has a funny quote by former NYC mayor Ed Koch, who I've always loved.,0,1203887.story

  4. Pat - quite RIGHT.

    Cassie - lovely comment. It was strange to find nothing about it in the British press; one tiny mention in The Guardian was all I saw. I read about it on The Daily Dish, Andrew Sullivan's blog. And THANK YOU. It is Andrew of course, I am an idiot, muddling him up with his dad. I seem to remember you saved me from some spelling howler a few months ago, so thank you thank you for your vigilance. You have saved my blushes. And so glad you liked the birds. Those two come and nest near my house each year and I have always loved them, they are so elegant and monochrome. But the fluffy little babe...Words fail. :)

    Deb - so sorry about Mario error. Really, really must do more copy editing before I press publish. Am going now to look at the piece on Ed Koch.

  5. Oh, what a lovely post. For me, first thing Monday morning, it's given me a bit more of a weekend feeling.
    Love Pigeon's smile x

  6. Brilliant photos and brilliant news! Our local government has tried to bring it in, only to have it overturned by the Commonwealth. Some things are just going to have to take time...

  7. Oh, I just love it when our government actually does something right. Definitely cause for celebration!

  8. It was wonderful news - and this is a lovely way to mark it.


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