INSIGHTS: by Joe Howard Crews
The first same-sex couples in San Diego County were legally wed on Tuesday morning, June 17 at five county offices, including Vista, and by the time November rolls around, many thousand of couples will have wed. A stream of out of state couples are expected come to San Diego to be married. Same-sex marriages of New Yorkers married in California are recognized in New York, even though NY itself does not permit same-sex marriage.
Gay marriages could give a big, sudden boost to San Diego's sputtering economy, with thousands of same-sex couples from across the nation expected to converge on the state. Hotels, restaurants, florists and other wedding services are reporting a flurry of business.
Norway's parliament this months adopted a new marriage law that allows homosexuals to marry, becoming the sixth nation to legalize gay marriage. LINK
Norway has moved rapidly in a short time. Just being a homosexual was illegal until 1972 in Norway, a country which has since become one of the most liberal in the world in the field.
The United States moves more slowly, but steadily forward. In California in 1977, only 28%
of voters favored same-sex marriage; in 2003 42% approved; but in May of this year, a Reuters poll showed 51% now approve.
All this gives voters a time to adjust before the November election to this expansion of equal rights to marry. Gay marriage is the most monumental expansion of marriage rights since 1948, when the California Supreme Court in Perez v. Sharp ruled that the Californian anti-miscegenation (inter-racial) statute violated the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and was therefore unconstitutional. During the early 20th century, inter-racial marriage was illegal in 30 states. Other states followed California's lead, and in 1967, the US Supreme Court unanimously ruled in Loving v. Virginia that anti-miscegenation laws are unconstitutional in the United States.
Many states adamantly opposed this change to "traditional marriage" on religious and moral grounds. But America is a progressive society which has always adapted to new social and cultural changes. When segregation was ended, there were people uncomfortable with the fact that blacks were able to use the same water fountains and restrooms, go to the same schools, and sit on the same sections of the bus as them.
Likewise the institution of marriage has always changed with the culture and the times. NC Times letter writer Larry Gerling stated it beautifully:
Traditional marriage is constantly changing, always moving in the direction of equality and California is leading the way.
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