Since late Friday night, much has changed for gay couples who are now free to get married in New York state; may everyone who wants to eat plain pizza and Baskin Robbins while looking “miserable.” But seriously, it’s a huge step, and as after every bit of forward progress, there’s the impatient question to follow: “What’s next?” That was the query at New York magazine over the weekend — “When are you two getting married?” — in a piece entitled, “For Gay Couples, Now the Pressure’s On!” The media pressure is part of it, one woman explained: “[Journalists] want to meet couples who are going to tie the knot as soon as it becomes legal to, which I think is a lot of pressure,” she said. “I mean, we’ve been together for almost four years, but it’s still a big decision that I’m not going to make public in an interview.” And then the same media turns right back around and wonders aloud — more than three weeks before marriage is an option — when the break-ups will start. Sooner rather than later, the divorce lawyers hope!
The New York Times, New York Post and the ABA law journal take identical angles: lawyers licking their lips.
“Other than a divorce attorney, no one goes to a wedding hoping the marriage will fail,” said one divorce attorney. “The same issues present themselves with same-sex couples: How do we split assets? What do we do with the children?” he explained. “The law doesn’t change merely because you have same-sex partners.”
The Post, of course, called it “the gay-marriage gravy train.”
“There’s a demographic pool that never existed before,” said another lawyer, this one to the Times.
And how about some non-scientific broad claims? Coming right up: “A lot of gay couples have been together for a lot longer than straight couples before they get married. They’re less likely to get divorced, because they know each other better.”
The Post has less faith though, and comes with a vague estimate that “about 21,000 gay and lesbian couples will wed” in the next three years, and current divorce rates say that “1,800 of those marriages will not survive.”
The tabloid — the same one that barely made room on its cover for the marriage quality vote — describes the impending divorces as “a bonanza.” Maybe that this early juncture, just for a second, they could try not to sound so excited.