In the past couple of days New Hampshire legalized gay marriage, and Nevada legalized "civil domestic partnerships" between any two people, regardless of gender.
In both states the decision came from the legislature, not the courts. (I believe the New Hampshire governor signed the new law, and in Nevada the state legislature overrode a veto.) Which is great because it severely undercuts the claim from the right that marriage equality is the result of "activist courts" going against "the will of the people." Oh, I'm sure there are wingers out there wailing about how true democracy is only reflected in a referendum. Well guess what, we live in a republic. Representative democracy, right? That thing conservatives are so fond of when it goes their way? I have to live with all kinds of laws I don't personally like, and so do they.
I've been wondering a couple of things: first, how active are the Las Vegas and Reno tourism industries in pushing for marriage equality? I bet legalizing gay marriage in a state with no residency requirement would be a real shot in the economic arm, at a time when they could use a boost, judging by the insanely low hotel deals they keeping emailing us about.
Second, given the option of either marriage or domestic partnership, how many straights will choose domestic partnership? It seems like there are a lot of people out there who aren't crazy about the word "marriage" and all the baggage it entails, and do it anyway because of all the legal protections it affords. If there's a simple, straightforward way to get all those legal protections without the marriage, I wonder how many straight couples will skip the marriage part.
Wouldn't it be funny if, after all that screaming about "protecting the sanctity of marriage," whatever that even means, the end result was to weaken straight marriage by making it seem like just one option out of many. Or would the right-wingers say that having fewer marriages makes the institution stronger, if the only people doing it are those who really want to? Somehow I don't think they would say that. Though it's hard to keep track sometimes.