Diane Savino: Protecting the Sanctity of What, Exactly?

ALBANY—During the debate on same-sex marriage in the State Senate, Diane Savino just made a point in dramatically personal fashion against those who want to protect the “sanctity” of marriage: “What are we really protecting?”

“We’re giving away husbands on a TV show,” Savino, a Staten Island Democrat, said. She referenced The Bachelor, The Bachelorette and The Littlest Groom.

She said that the most interesting lobbying on the issue she had experiences came from a pedicab driver, who stuck his head into her car window at a red light to ask whether same-sex marriage would be considered and how she would vote. Savino said she would vote affirmatively, and the driver was disturbed.

“I said, we just met, right here at a stoplight,” Savino recalled, and that they could go to City Hall the next day and obtain a marriage license. “I said, ‘Do you think we’re ready for that kind of commitment?’ He stopped and said, I see your point. That’s what this is about. We in government don’t determine the quality or validity of people’s relationships. If we did, we would not issue three quarters of the marriage licenses we do.”

Savino, who is unmarried, said she knows Senator Tom Duane and his longtime partner Louis Webre well.

“I will tell you, I’m over the age of 40–and that’s all you’re going to get from me–but I have never been able to maintain a relationship of the quality and length that they have,” Savino said. “We have nothing to fear from love and commitment. My only hope, Tom, is that we pass this bill and the governor signs it and that we can learn from you, and that you don’t learn from us.”

  Diane Savino: Protecting the Sanctity of What, Exactly?