Some people have asked us: If same-sex marriage is here to stay, just why exactly do couples have to get married the first day, anyway? Isn’t it a waste of money for the cash-strapped city to be opening marriage bureaus on a Sunday?
Well, here are 10 good reasons why LGBT Americans have been traumatized into believing equality is fleeting and won’t last, so you’d better grab it whenever you can.
10. For about a month in February and March of 2004, same-sex couples were wed in San Francisco. People came from all over the nation to marry each other, believing that, as the Mayor and the City of San Francisco told them their marriages were legal, they were legal.
9. On August 12 of 2004, the Supreme Court of the State of California said, “Sorry! You’re not married, after all.” Too bad. Over 4,000 marriages were dissolved.
8. In May of 2008, the California Supreme Court reversed itself, and in June of 2008, same-sex couples could wed again. Hooray! Over 18,000 couples did.
7. On November 4, 2008, the same day Americans elected the first black President, Californians passed Proposition 8, banning same-sex marriage. For five months, those 18,000 families’ futures were held in the balance.
6. In March of 2009, the California Supreme Court said that – gasp – those legally wed Californians’ marriages were still legal! However, no more homos could get married.
5. In May of 2009, Maine’s governor, following legislative approval (exactly as things unfolded here in New York State) signed marriage equality into law.
4. In November of 2009, Maine’s voters put the issue up for a direct referendum, and it failed before a single gay or lesbian couple could wed. (With similar intent, the National Organization for Marriage has vowed to fight New York’s Marriage Equality Act, and will be campaigning for a direct referendum this Sunday.)
3. In April of 2009, Iowa’s Supreme Court made same-sex marriage legal. Marriages began less than a month later.
2. Despite Armageddon failing to strike the Hawkeye State, anti-equality forces have attempted to overturn the gay marriage there ever since. In November of 2010, all three of the justices up for re-election for the first time since the court’s unanimous ruling were voted out of office, after NOM campaigned for their removal.
Now, is it any wonder why same-sex couples feel the need to get the equality while the getting’s good? Not convinced? Well, try this:
1. Finally, have you seen how people line up for days to watch the last Harry Potter movie on the first day it opens, just to say, “I saw it first?” Hell, they even do this for shit like The Phantom Menace! Getting married is a lot bigger fuckin’ deal than seeing a movie. So it’s no surprise couples want to be a part of history, express their love for their spouse, get their equal civil rights, and get on with their lives.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on July 22, 2011