I am not sure I would call this a “rapidly spreading national movement” yet, but it is certainly a grassroots movement that could become very hard to stamp out once it really picks up steam:
- Gay and lesbian couples started tying the knot in Portland on Wednesday after the county issued same-sex marriage licenses, joining the rapidly spreading national movement in San Francisco and upstate New York.
Meanwhile, New York’s attorney general joined the national debate, saying current state law prohibits same-sex weddings and that mayors should not preside over them. But he said he would leave it to the courts to decide if the law is constitutional. In Washington, D.C., lawmakers debated the issue, with Republican senators such as Majority Leader Bill Frist asking Congress to embrace a constitutional amendment banning them.
“Same sex marriage is likely to spread through all 50 states in the coming years,” Frist said. “It is becoming increasingly clear that Congress must act.” [AP]
Yes, all those giddy, loving, committed, taxpaying, voting, responsible citizens beaming from the courthouse steps is clearly something Congress must act to prevent. Frist, a physician, would seem to be encouraging gays to return to the glory days of the baths – surely gay promiscuity is preferable from a public health, morality, and social structure standpoint to governmental sanctioning of committed, loving, stable families. Right, doctor?
- In Oregon, about 50 people lined up for a sudden chance to wed after a Multnomah County commissioner said she would begin issuing the licenses to same-sex couples.
….Earlier, an ebullient Mary Li held up the very first certificate – showing her and her partner’s name under the Oregon seal.
“I can’t describe how great it feels,” Li said. She and her partner Rebecca Kennedy were also the first to be married, by a county judge.
Gay-bar owners handed out free glasses of champagne and many couples carried bouquets of roses.
….On Wednesday, Nyack, N.Y., Mayor John Shields said he also would start marrying gay couples and planned to seek a license himself to marry his same-sex partner.
Spitzer said New York’s law contains references to “bride and groom” and “husband and wife” and does not authorize same-sex marriage. Gov. George Pataki has also said that performing gay marriages is illegal, a position he affirmed on Wednesday.
In New York, Attorney General Eliot Spitzer said in a statement, “I personally would like to see the law changed, but must respect the law as it now stands.”
Both sides of the polarizing issue had been waiting for Spitzer’s opinion since Friday, when the mayor of New Paltz, a college town 75 miles north of Manhattan, married 25 same-sex couples without licenses. Village Mayor Jason West has been charged with 19 criminal counts and could face jail time.
“The local district attorney has the authority and responsibility to enforce the law,” Spitzer said.
“Marriage under New York State law is and has been for over 200 years between a man and a woman. And we have to uphold that law,” he said.
Shields and West said they would go ahead with their plans.
“What do you do when you’re faced with injustice?” Shields said. “What did the women do in the suffrage movement? They marched. They were arrested. They did what they had to do to get their rights.
West married 25 gay couples on Friday, making New Paltz another flash point in the national debate over gay marriage. More than 3,400 couples have been married in San Francisco; West now has about 1,200 couples on a waiting list.
In Massachusetts, same-sex marriages have the approval of the state’s highest court – but the state-sanctioned marriages will not start until May.
….On Tuesday, Multnomah County Chair Diane Linn directed the county to begin issuing same-sex wedding licenses after consulting with the county attorney. Three of the other four commissioners affirmed her decision Wednesday.
“We will not allow discrimination to continue when the Constitution of the state of Oregon grants privileges equally to all citizens,” Naito said.
We live in amazing times.
Here’s a state-by-state rundown of marriage laws.