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    Saturday, June 23, 2007

    Right and Wrong; Crying changes everything

    Men are generally crying more and more lately, or so I hear, and so I see on TV and PBS.

    Do you think it was like that with George Washington, Lincoln, Hoover, Roosevelt, JFK, your male ancestors pre 1970?

    But it is more than plausible with Clinton, both Bush boys, and the foreseeable future.

    If our dappled men in government cross from analysis to public crying which is something close to the temporary insanity of grief, what do we get?

    We get what we got I'm afraid.


    ALBANY, N.Y. -- It is a rare day in the state Legislature _ perhaps once or twice a decade _ when a debate keeps members in their seats listening intently to their colleagues. It happened Tuesday evening as the state Assembly took up the difficult issue of same-sex marriage. The often emotional three-hour debate showed many at their best.

    For five minutes, Teresa Sayward spoke to the hushed chamber about her son.

    About his coming home from elementary school and asking what "fag" and "queer" meant. " My son didn't want to be different. Lord knows, he wanted to change," she recalled. "So I consulted the church. I read everything I could. I read the Bible. I read white papers on this issue. Surely, I could make him normal," said Sayward.

    He also tried. He got a girlfriend in high school. It helped for a while, she said. His classmates were more accepting. Then he went to college. There were drugs and questions about identity.

    "When he would come home on the weekend, we would spend long nights crying together and talking," she said.

    "One night, I said to him, `You have to be who you are. You can't be what people think you should be.' "And he said to me, `But Mom, I want to be normal. I want to have a house and a fence and a dog and children and I want to be successful,"' Sayward said. "He did decide with us _ with his family, with his father and I _ that he would be who he was. And, he became much happier in life," she said.

    "I'm happy to report that my son has the house and the fence and the dog. And, he's raised two wonderful young men."

    "Let's search our hearts tonight and do the right thing and vote for the civil rights and the human rights of all of the people that we represent and give them the right to marry the people they love just like I had the right, 43 years ago, to marry my husband," Sayward pleaded.

    The applause went on for a full 20 seconds.

    "The tears were streaming down my face," said one veteran Democratic Assembly employee.

    Exciting and intense, tears and grief.

    Now for the boring analysis of right and wrong. No applause is noted.

    Brian Kolb spoke of "the nuns who taught me in grammar school" and his marriage in the Catholic Church. " I do feel threatened. I do feel harmed in terms of what you are trying to do with this particular bill because it's a direct challenge to me and how I was brought up," said the Canandaigua Republican as he came out against "a bill that tears at my very soul."

    "I might be over-dramatizing, but I truly fear we are witnessing the twilight of our modern civilization," said Bronx Democrat Michael Benjamin as he voted with Kolb against the measure even while declaring his love "for my gay brother."

    Dierdre Scozzafava of St. Lawrence County told her Assembly colleagues "the politically easiest thing" for her would be to vote against the measure and support civil unions for gays. But the Gouverneur Republican said that four days earlier she had sat with a good friend "and he explained to me why that did not provide him equal protection under the law." "What might be the easiest thing for me to do tonight, is not the right thing," she said.


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