While there is certainly something historic (politically and culturally) about the first gay weddings taking place in Massachusetts, I’m tempted to make less of a big deal out of it. Why? Because like most things that take place in a relationship between two people, it probably will not have much of an impact on anyone else. In a lot of ways, this is a bigger day for the strong opponents of gay marriage than it is for the rest of us. They feel that they are somehow losing something. That the meaning of their vows will be changed. That notion seems like nonsense to me.
I don’t much care what others think about my marriage and I’d hope that the gay couples getting married today feel the same way (I know it’s not much of a wedding toast, but you get the idea).
In the near term, the marriages will only be recognized in certain states. This may introduce an era of geographic arguments in which members of couples will be wary about saying the wrong thing as they approach a state line. But this limitation too will pass.
On a purely legal level, it just seems so painfully obvious that today is a step in the right direction. The Globe has had two blogs running; one in favor of gay marriage and one opposed. In the opposition blog, the writer introduces this historic day by explaining: “Well, today is D-Day for gay marriage, which seems to be stealing the thunder from the day’s 50th anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education.”
That sentence is wrong on two counts. For one, this is not a D-Day for gay marriage. The violence metaphor is all wrong. Do the people in the pictures look like they are in the middle of a terrible battle? The point is that this is not D-Day for couples. It’s We-Day. And second, the Massachusetts marriages are not stealing thunder from Brown v Board, they are celebrating it.
“The long march of African-Americans to civil equality was and is deeply different from the experience and legacy of gay Americans. But in one respect, the date is fitting, for both Brown and this new day revolve around a single, simple and yet deeply elusive idea: integration.”