Thursday, November 18, 2004

Deluge to Trickle

For either anti- or pro-gay marriage advocates, the initial counts of Massachusetts weddings offer plus and minus. The state has recorded nearly 3,000 same-sex marriage certificates, but the rate seems to have dwindled to next to nothing after the initial rush.

The state gives town clerks two months and ten days to file the post-wedding papers. The initial tabulation since May 17th is 2,980 same-sex marriages out of 12,600 total -- 36.5%. The state estimates that the total of same-sex certificates to date will end up being 4,266 at about that same ratio.

Suburban and rural areas have very small percentages of their totals. Boston has had about 21%. A very few traditionally gay-oriented areas, such as Northampton (66%) and Provincetown (97%), have high percentages.

So there may be that many legally married homosexuals this year. Some of them will move to other states. A few of those will seek recognition of their marriages from government agencies, insurance companies, the courts and legislatures.

Meanwhile, new same-sex wedding licenses and certificates have slowed considerably. They may well fall back to levels representing the percentages of homosexuals. There doesn't seem to be any steady flow of couples from other regions trying to get married here. That could change if the state begins to welcome such unions.

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