NOW with Alex Wagner | July 24, 2012
>>> one year ago today, same sex couples began to legally marry in new york state. to date, more than 7,000 couples have tied the knot in new york city alone. one of those newlyweds is christine quinn . she married her long-time partner in may. speaker quinn joins us now on set. it's a pleasure to have you on the show. welcome and congratulations.
>> thank you very much. it was a perfect day .
>> 7,000 marriages in the last year.
>> at least. you don't have to put your gender down so those are the folks who identified.
>> incredible, incredible. the other story is the economic impact in the city. an estimated $259 million economic impact resulting in $16 million in city revenues.
>> pretty good.
>> impressive. this was really interesting. same sex marriage average cost is $9,039 here in new york city . we don't know what heterosexual marriage is.
>> the average is about $30,000. for whatever reason, i was speaking to the gentleman who runs new york city and company, our tourism bureau, he said the lgbt ones have been a little smaller.
>> interesting. i want to ask you about sort of changing attitudes towards same sex marriage. i bring to your attention something you said not long ago. you said i go to places where you think based on the sign over the door this place is conservative, they're not going to want to see the ring, ask how it was, congratulate me. couldn't be more wrong.
>> amazing. it's been so amazing. since the moment marriage equality passed and i said we were engaged, people everywhere i go, every borough, every neighborhood, congratulations, congratulations. i would sometimes say to people with me why are they congratulating me. it would be knucklehead, you're engaged. it wasn't present in my mind. it was still present in theirs. everywhere i go, it's been the most lovely thing. even religious leaders, if you were to make an assumption they might not have been excited, will go out of their way to pull me aside and say congratulations, i'm happy for you. and you know, in the wake of so much terrible tragedy recently in our country, there's very few things we in government can do that are just about happiness. just about bringing people joy. this is one of them. and i have seen this city really, and the state, be lifted up by this law over the past 12 months. so i would say to people in other parts of the country who think the sky is going to fall in if you bring equal rights to lgbt people , it is quite the opposite.
>> i ask you that because we of course know just a few months ago, north carolina banned same sex marriages and it almost seems like not one step forward , two steps back by any means, but one step forward , perhaps one step back. the country, you know, we talk about these divided states, in some corners of the country, there seems to be a lot of unity, a lot of acknowledgment that this is not -- this isn't a gay rights issue. this is a civil rights issue. but in other parts of the country, there seems to be a much different, more different attitude as far as gay unions and gay rights and gay marriage . i guess i wonder as a gay american, how does that make you feel seeing the discrepancy between the attitudes here in new york city and elsewhere in the country?
>> it makes -- look, i'm very proud of my state. very proud of my mayor, very proud of my governor, for what we have in new york . but i'm not satisfied. and i know we have more work to do to make me a full citizen in the eyes of the federal government and to give every american the same rights i have in my state, in their state. but what i end up feeling after 12 months of new yorkers being so great is energized. stronger. ready to fight harder to support my brothers and sisters in other states and to make my country equal. really, i feel like we have the wind at our back. and you know what, the quest for full rights is never easy. if it was easy, you know, it would have happened already but it's important and you need to keep going. every setback just like when we lost in new york in 2009 , you need to understand them, you need to learn from them and you need to recommit. that's what we did here. that's what we'll do in north carolina . that's what we're doing in california. we will keep the march moving forward. and we'll get it done. i have no doubt in my mind.
>> we know there are marriage equality measures on ballots in maine, maryland, minnesota and washington. are you bullish or bearish?
>> i think, look, that's a lot of states, so do i think we're going to win all of them? i hope we do but that's a tough, tough field with all of those states. but i am very optimistic that we will be victorious. we have actually never been victorious before on a state ballot so i think we will do much better than our opponents think we'll do. you know, the thing about the opponents, lgbt equality and marriage equality , they think they're going to stop us. they think we're going to lose and eventually going to say you know what, i'm done. that's not happening.
>> in fact, it's i think the opposite. the arc of history as the president always talks about bends towards justice and equality. this is something where generationally you are seeing a major shift in terms of attitudes towards gay marriage . i do have to ask you, because you are here with us, we know you have been fund-raising for something that you have not declared which is to say potential mayoral bid. your thoughts on that, the fund-raising, you reached the limit for how much one can raise. there seems to be a lot of enthusiasm around that.
>> i'm very grateful to everyone who has supported my campaign from small contributions all the way up and i'm also very proud that in new york city we have a campaign finance system that has a maximum contribution level.
>> there's a limit.
>> it's amazing. most places don't have that. so i'm proud we have it. i'm proud to be in or system and i'm really grateful to the new yorkers who well over a year before the next round of city-wide elections are interested and care enough about their city to say hey, i want to talk to you about who are going to be the next city-wide elected officials, i want to have a conversation, want to give you $25, want to give you $50. that to me makes me really optimistic about the future of new york city because people care.
>> new yorkers are nothing if not interested.
>> that's right. and vocal.
>> new york city council speaker christine quinn , thank you for joining us.