"We Have Nothing To Fear From Love And Commitment"

A powerful, pathos-filled speech by Senator Diane Savino (D-Staten Island) before the failed vote yesterday:

The best account of the impact of yesterday's decisive defeat for civil rights is here. What strikes me is how many of the nay votes didn't speak at all. And how many who had privately pledged support voted no anyway. The work done with New York's GOP was particularly impressive. But one suspects that the winds blowing in the GOP today, in which any inclusion of gay people - let alone civil equality - is anathema, were primarily responsible.

It's demoralizing and dispiriting. But it is my deepest belief that every time this question is thoroughly debated, and each time we put ourselves, our dignity and our families on the line, we win even if we lose.

This is about changing people's consciousness, deep down, the prerequisite of changing the law. And sometimes simply witnessing a majority strike down a minority so emphatically makes the point more powerfully than anything else.

Civil rights movements always move forward by occasionally moving backward. And at each moment in the struggle, those unpersuaded watch us, how we respond, who we are. Anger and sadness are more than legitimate responses. But so are calm and confidence.