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Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Happy anniversary, Massachusetts!

 Hillary and Julie Goodridge celebrate their wedding in Boston last March Today is the first anniversary of the first legally recognized marriages of same-sex couples in the United States. Mrs Philocrites and I — who are approaching our second anniversary —say hooray!

Last year, we joined the huge midnight party that greeted couples (and their kids) as they received the first marriage licenses at Cambridge City Hall. What a celebration. And how is gay marriage going over in Massachusetts? Lesbians have embraced it more than gay men, according to the Times: Almost two-thirds of the 5,400 same-sex couples married in Massachusetts this past year are female (which surprises no one). The rest of us seem to be adjusting quite nicely to the Biggest Change in Traditional Marriage since no-fault divorce was introduced to romantically-motivated tract-house monogamy more than 3,000 years ago* (right, Brother Romney?). Even though a surprising 46 percent of Americans favor recognizing Massachusetts same-sex marriages in their own states — 50 percent oppose it — the Boston Globe reports that support for gay marriage in Massachusetts has risen to 56 percent. More importantly, as public support slowly solidifies, political support for marriage is getting even stronger: The anti-gay marriage amendment that narrowly passed the Massachusetts Constitutional Convention last March may be doomed.

The amendment passed last year by four votes; gay marriage supporters picked up four seats in November's legislative elections — and the conservative Speaker of the House stepped down. The Senate Republican leader who co-sponsored the amendment publicly acknowledges he's reconsidering his support, and conservative groups including the Roman Catholic bishops are likely to withdraw support from the amendment because it would create civil unions in place of same-sex marriage.

So there's the silver lining to the storm cloud that continues to threaten Americans who are gay or lesbian. The culture is changing, however, even if it looks like everything's backlash outside of Massachusetts . . . oh, and also Connecticut and California and New Jersey and Hawaii and Maine and Vermont and the District of Columbia.

And why, exactly, does straight married guy Philocrites favor gay marriage? Let me explain.

("Even in Gay Circles, Women Want the Ring," Genia Bellafante, New York Times 5.8.05, reg req'd; "One Year Later, Nation Divided on Gay Marriage," Scott S. Greenberger, Boston Globe 5.15.05, reg req'd; "Passage of Marriage Amendment in Doubt," Raphael Lewis, Boston Globe 5.16.05, reg req'd; "We Do: As Same-Sex Marriage Comes to Massachusetts, Deeper and Broader Trends Have Made the Rest of the Country More Tolerant, Too," Neil Miller, UU World May/June 2004)

Copyright © 2005 by Philocrites | Posted 17 May 2005 at 8:43 AM

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May 17, 2005 11:40 AM | Permalink for this comment

Newsweek has more current numbers than the Times: 6,142 same-sex marriages have been performed in Massachusetts through February 2005; 3,972 65% of these have been female couples. Meanwhile, 30,872 heterosexual marriages have been performed in the Commonwealth. Congratulations to everyone!


May 17, 2005 06:50 PM | Permalink for this comment

A footnote (*!): In the first published version of this post, I alluded to a statement made by Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, but misremembered him having said "6,000 years"; Romney had actually said, back in November 2003, "I agree with 3,000 years of recorded human history, which frankly is a contradiction of what the majority of the Supreme Judicial Court said." I've corrected the number and added a link to the Boston Globe story that quotes his comments.

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