Thursday, December 6th, 2012, at the stroke of midnight, a flood of people will cram into a tiny space in order to clamor for the must-have of the season. What is it, you might ask? The latest Hollywood blockbuster? A new children’s toy? The latest in a bestselling novel series? The must-have video game system of the decade?
No, they will be jamming into county clerk offices statewide for a marriage license.
At the stroke of midnight on December 6th, Washington State will issue its first marriage licenses for same sex couples. Already people are staking out spots in front of the county clerk offices across the state in a move more reminiscent of the release of the next Star Wars movie.
And already the anticipated issuing of marriage licenses without gender discrimination has caused rabid and insane responses from those who seek to deny marriage equality. Claims of family breakups and social collapse, of course, have never born fruit with states that have marriage equality; in fact, lower incidence of divorce and family unit breakups are reported in equality states than those who have banned it.
Washington is not the first state to approve marriage equality, it will not be the last. What it is, however, is a bellwether for future states and what they should expect.
Marriage equality has been a long road in coming. Over the centuries, marriage has been redefined so that a woman was no longer property, that people of different religions could wed, that people of different racial heritage could wed, even the elimination of laws preventing marriage of people with particular mental or genetic disorders. When someone says that marriage equality is an attempt to redefine marriage, they are right; but it is but one of many such changes over the millennia. After all, if you cannot buy yourself a third wife with four goats and a sack of potatoes then marriage has already been changed…and for the better.