A civil right

As California takes the historic plunge and makes same-sex marriage legal, we’d like to offer congratulations to all those who bravely jump the broom and declare their lifelong commitment to one another with all the love, passion and expectation of compromise such a declaration requires.

The fact that this country, which has for years failed and discriminated against this entire class of people, has finally begun taking baby steps to real equality can make us all proud. We are living in historic times, and we need to appreciate them and watch the tide turn and wash years of statutory homophobia away.

Now, it’s real. Now, we Nevadans get to see, up close and personally, that the fabric of society shall not perish from the earth as Party A kisses the bride and/or husband. And that ain’t all people are going to realize. They’re going to realize those Defense of Marriage folks sold us a pig in a poke when they convinced the electorate in not one, but two, back-to-back elections to write discrimination into the Nevada Constitution.

That hate-filled little initiative didn’t stop gay marriage, and now we’ll see that it’ll hurt all Nevadans—not just the people it was designed to hurt. In these times of busted budgets, job vacuums, and gassed-out tourism, California is going to make millions, if not billions, out of the gay marriage industry. And it won’t be just the “gay marriage chapels,” which will sprout like mushrooms, it’ll be the gay-friendly honeymoon, and the “no honey, I don’t see any reason not to split sixes” vacationing.

Last week University of California School of Law professor Gary Gates, who studies the demographics of American gays, had this to say, as quoted by Las Vegas Weekly columnist Steve Friess: “We estimate that over the next three years, the California decision will generate $700 million in spending on weddings, so obviously Nevada is missing out on a piece of that pie. We estimate that this will add more than $50 million in taxes to the state’s coffers and create more than 2,000 jobs. The unique position in Nevada is that Vegas is clearly known for weddings. That’s an easy fit.”

Hearing that, Friess nailed it pretty well: “Or it would’ve been.”

And now, the chickens come home to roost. Nevadans chose to make it very difficult for the state to maneuver when the flood against discrimination receded. This state, its hypocrisy written for all to see, chose to defend the sanctity of marriage. (Does anyone recall how Nevada developed its international reputation as a state’s-rights maverick to begin with?)

We can only hope that the U.S. Supreme Court will rule in short order in a way that honors the Full Faith and Credit clause of the Constitution, and validates those relationships across this great nation.

Anyway, good on you, California. Good on all you optimistic lovers out there. Good luck to everyone.