Undo 11,000 marriages?
Because counties don't keep a tally of whether the couples who get marriage licenses are of the same gender, it's been impossible to know how many gay and lesbian weddings have occurred since the state Supreme Court ruling took effect in mid-June. All of these marriages would probably be declared invalid--a kind of mass divorce by state initiative--if Proposition 8's ban on same-sex marriage passes in November.
The Williams Institute at UCLA came out today with a number, or at least an estimate: 11,000 same-sex weddings from June 17 to September 17. They did this by totting up, county by county, the number of marriages last year during that time and comparing it with this year, assuming that most of the increase would have been a result of the Supreme Court ruling. That seems like a pretty good assumption, since the biggest increases were seen in counties like L.A. and San Francisco that are known to have big gay populations.
This fits in neatly with the big delay to the big Proposition 8 sign-planting. Remember how in late September, a possible 1 million religionists were supposed to march out of their homes, at roughly the same time, and plant a Yes on Proposition 8 sign on their front lawns? Seems the printing of a number of those signs was outsourced to another country or countries--the campaign isn't saying which, but the blog rumor mill has been saying China--and the signs were somehow delayed. I see that the bumper stickers, which showed up in a more timely fashion, exhort people to "Restore Marriage." But what does this mean in the context of 11,000 same-sex marriages that stand to be undone by the initiative, a 17% increase in the number of all marriages in the state? Whose bumper stickers are these, anyway? Seems like the anti-Prop. 8 folks could use the same slogan; maybe there should be a few last-minute changes to those lawn signs before they arrive, whenever that is.
Photo by Ben Margot/AP