Monday, June 16, 2008

CA: Marriage bells at start of business Tues (legal 17:01 PDT today); MA: marriages drop off

According to many reports, at 5:01 PM PDT today Monday June 16 (8:01 PM EDT), gay marriage will be legal and recognized in California again. The stroke of a grandfather clock, however, doesn't necessarily start playing Mendelssohn's Wedding March. The legal event had meant that gay marriage licenses could be issued at the start of business tomorrow Tuesday June 17 in California. (The AP story that clarifies this appears on Fox News here.) According to some stories, the clerks' offices may stay open tonight (Monday), although there are likely to be more variations on this story as it unfolds today. (CA residents: stay tuned all day; the opening of offices may vary from county to county.) In any case, there will be a rush to the altar, reminding one of the Gavin Newsome Day in 2004. Apparently, from news reports, there will be a referendum on the ballot Nov. 4 that could undo these marriages.

AP has a story by Lisa Leff, “Lesbian couple of 55 years ready to say ‘I do’”, a story that recalls an era when gays and lesbians “risked being arrested, fired from their jobs and sent to electroshock treatment,” are at least the pseudo-reparative “therapy” that I underwent at NIH in the fall of 1962. The link is here.

The New York Times ran a front page story Sunday June 16 by Pam Belluck, “Gay Couples Find Marriage Is a Mixed Bag,” link here.

The story relates the experience that, socially, gay marriage seems to work well in Massachusetts, with gay marital partners being able to use marital vocabulary with other family members and in public, without the feared social tensions. However, year by year, fewer gay couples are getting married in Massachusetts, and some are getting divorced, for some of the same reasons that heterosexual couples do.

The gay marriage debate does demonstrate how some people depend on the belief that others share their values and return emotional loyalties.

Evening: Breaking News

The Advocate has 24/7 coverage of this event with Steve Kmetko here.

Lisa Leff of the AP reported tonight (Monday June 16) "Dozens of gay couples wed in Calif. after ruling," link here. This included a couple in their 80s.

California, unlike Massachusetts, now allows same-sex couples residing in other states to travel there to marry. This feature is reported to causing a mini-economic resurgence in the catering businesses in the San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego areas. The LA catering business really needs this because of the losses from the WGA writer's strike and threatened SAG strike in the entertainment area. Of course, any sort of economic recovery is welcome as California is also hit very hard by the subprime crisis.

Update: June 18

The Los Angeles Times had an important editorial June 17, "The right to love; Same-sex unions do not diminish the bonds of marriage, they uphold them," and this URL was circulated on list-servers this morning. Here is an important excerpt on the referendum coming this November: "The question won't be whether same-sex marriage is right or wrong -- that's a matter of personal conviction -- but whether those who believe it is wrong should have the power to deny marriage to those who seek its protections."

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