Official end to California’s Prop 8

I woke up this morning to this news from the New York Times

Gay Couples Who Sued in California Are Married

Kris Perry and Sandy Stier, who have been together for more than 15 years and have four sons, were married at San Francisco City Hall by Attorney General Kamala Harris on Friday.

Kris Perry and Sandy Stier, who have been together for more than 15 years and have four sons, were married at San Francisco City Hall by Attorney General Kamala Harris on Friday.

The two couples who sued to overturn California’s ban on same-sex marriage were married late Friday afternoon, just hours after the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, in San Francisco, lifted the stay that had been in place.

The court had stopped same-sex marriages while the case wound its way through the Supreme Court, which issued its decision to clear the path for same-sex marriages in California on Wednesday.

Attorney General Kamala Harris rushed to San Francisco City Hall within minutes of the ruling to perform the wedding for Kris Perry and Sandy Stier, who have been together for more than 15 years and have four sons.

And in LA

Mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa of Los Angeles, on his last workday in office, officiated at the Friday evening wedding of Paul Katami and Jeffrey Zarrillo, the two other plaintiffs in the case. Until Friday afternoon, they had no idea when their marriage could take place.

“Nobody really knew; that’s what our lawyers are there for. We don’t really care about any of that at this point, but we’re on our way to see the mayor,” Mr. Zarrillo told KCRW, a public radio station in Los Angeles.

The pair were stuck in traffic en route from their home to the county office to obtain their marriage license and then to City Hall downtown. But by 6:30 they walked in front of dozens of television cameras, kissed Mayor Villaraigosa and were pronounced married.

“Your relationship is an inspiration to us all,” Mr. Villaraigosa said. “Today, your wait is finally over.”

“Equal feels different,” Mr. Katami said. Mr. Zarrillo added, “Equal feels good.”

The Ninth Circuit acted with unusual speed.

Many legal experts and advocates had expected the court to wait for an official decision from the Supreme Court, as is the normal practice. But after the initial ruling was issued on Wednesday, Ms. Harris urged the Circuit Court to act immediately and said she would ensure that all counties in the state were prepared to issue licenses to same-sex couples.

Just after 3 p.m. Friday, the three-judge panel issued a one-sentence ruling lifting the stay on a district judge’s injunction to not enforce the ban on same-sex marriages.

Gov. Jerry Brown issued a statement late Friday afternoon saying that he had directed the state’s Department of Health to notify all 58 counties in the state that “same-sex marriage is now legal in California and that marriage licenses must be issued to same-sex couples immediately.”

I know there had been some confusion about the impact of the Supreme Court decision.  Some thought it would only apply to the plaintiff, but since the District and Appeals courts had already ruled Prop 8 unconstitutional it turns out that only the stay had to be lifted.

From Massachusetts:  Welcome to Marriage Equality, California!  And an aside to the opponents – don’t worry, the sky will not fall.  This is number 13.  Which state will be next?

Photograph:  Jim Wilson/The New York Times

The French debate gay marriage

The French Parliament has approved gay marriage.

I started reading the article, The French Debate Gay Marriage, in Their Fashion, from Sunday’s New York Times thinking I wouldn’t learn much.  Wrong.  Turns out some of the ambivalence about gay marriage has to do with ambivalence about marriage generally.

“After May ’68, if you were modern, you didn’t get married,” said Frédéric Martel, organizer of the Rond-Point event and author of the new book, “Global Gay: How the Gay Revolution is Changing the World.” “Now we’re at a moment when we are all a bit hysterical about marriage — gay marriage. But this is really a conservative movement, about stability in society and being good parents and protecting children and becoming rather ordinary.”

Seventy percent of the French do not think it is important for couples living together to get married, according to an Insee poll in 2012. Fewer than four marriages for every 1,000 citizens were performed in France in 2011, compared with nearly eight in 1970.

The civil solidarity pact legislation, which was intended to give gay couples many of the rights of marriage, has been used overwhelmingly by straight couples as a kind of “marriage light.” It is so popular as an alternative to marriage that in 2010, there were four civil unions for every five marriages.

And then there are feminist concerns.

Some feminist lesbians think a change in the law is retrograde. In Elle, the historian Marie-Josèphe Bonnet called marriage an “instrument of domination” and same-sex marriage a project of gay men, not lesbians.

“We want to be able to exist socially as women, without being a mother or ‘the wife of,’ ” she said. Asked why she didn’t mobilize lesbians against the law, she said, “No one can be opposed to equality.”

Plus the fact that the French President, Francois Hollande, has never married.

Mr. Hollande, who made passage of the same-sex law a campaign promise, is a model for unmarrieds. He never married Ségolène Royal, the mother of his four children; she called herself “a free woman” and marriage a “bourgeois institution” when she ran unsuccessfully for president in 2007. There is no indication he intends to marry Ms. Trierweiler.

Valerie Trierweiler supports gay marriage.

When Valérie Trierweiler, the partner of France’s president, François Hollande, announced that if the law came into effect she would attend the wedding of two gay friends, Bernard Debré, a center-right deputy, wrote on his blog that she had no right to enter the debate. “She’s just the mistress of the French president,” he said.

The French support marriage but aren’t so sure about adoption by same sex couples.

While 63 percent of the French favor same-sex marriage, according to a poll by the French Institute of Public Opinion released last Saturday, 49 percent favor the right of same-sex married couples to adopt. There is less support for legalizing artificially induced pregnancies for gay couples. And some liberals and feminists consider surrogate motherhood an exploitation of poor working women by the rich.

“It introduces the notion of the child as merchandise,” the historian Max Gallo said on France Culture radio last Sunday. “You rent a belly and buy the product.”

The concerns of the French who are generally supportive are very different from those of Americans.  Here it is viewed as a matter of equality and civil rights. Here in the United States, we, for the most part, still believe in marriage.  We got past the era when it was an institution of our parents.

But the views of the opposition are pretty much the same in both countries.  The New York Times reported on an anti-gay marriage rally held in January.

“Nobody expected this two or three months ago,” said Frigide Barjot, a flamboyant comedian leading the protest. At the rally, she read out a letter to Mr. Hollande asking him to withdraw the draft bill and hold an extended public debate.

Strongly backed by the Catholic Church hierarchy, Ms. Barjot and groups working with her mobilized churchgoing families and political conservatives as well as some Muslims, evangelicals and even homosexuals opposed to gay marriage to protest.

“The French are tolerant, but they are deeply attached to the family and the defense of children,” said Daniel Liechti, vice president of the National Council of French Evangelicals, which urged its members to join the march.

Opponents of gay marriage and adoption, including most faith leaders in France, have argued that the reform would create psychological and social problems for children, which they believe should trump the desire for equal rights for gay adults.

Sounds familiar.

Protesters in Paris opposing gay marriage.

I think both sides will find out what we have already learned in Massachusetts:  The sky won’t fall.

Photograph:  Marriage for all Gonzalo Fuentes/Reuters

Photograph:  Protesters Getty Images.

Gay marriage: not the end of the world

I always wondered what people meant when they said that gay marriage would somehow negatively affect their own marriages.  What exactly did they think would happen?  The sky would fall?  The divorce rate would sky rocket?  How would a marriage between two women or two men change anyone else’s relationship?  It has been a mystery to me ever since we had gay marriage legalized in here Massachusetts.

I just came back from a couple of days in a state which just approved gay marriage and where some marriages have taken place.  I didn’t notice that Maine was any different from the last time I was there and I guess Wiley Miller hasn’t either.  Here is today’s Non Sequitur.

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