If Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger was hoping for a quick injection of gay dollars into California's ailing economy this summer, it may not happen. Opponents of same-sex marriage asked the state's Supreme Court on Thursday to delay its decision to allow queer weddings until after November 4, when an expected anti-gay marriage ballot measure will be put in front of the voters.
Towleroad.com, the widely-read gay news site, also reports that San Diego County Clerk Gregory Smith may allow clerks to not serve marriage licenses if they have moral or religious objections. Los Angeles County, in the meantime, seems to be going in the opposite direction–officials are gearing up for a gay marriage crush by opening up more satellite offices and hiring volunteer commissioners to officiate weddings.
LA County seems to understand the gay dollar is not something to easily dismiss. According to a recent online poll conducted by Instinct magazine, 83 percent of the respondents feel the queer market is “stronger than ever before.” It may be why Schwarzenegger said at a public appearance in San Francisco on Tuesday that he hopes “California's economy is booming because everyone is going to come here and get married.”
If the Supreme Court strikes down the gay marriage foes' request for a delay, same sex couples may start to tie the knot as early as June 16. Lambda Legal, a gay rights advocacy group, hopes that can happen. During a May 16 conference call, the organization's lawyers urged committed couples to get hitched, suggesting it may be some kind of legal card to play down the road if the ballot measure is approved in November.
And local gay activists, such as Miki Jackson, have suggested to hold mass weddings/fund raisers as a way to raise the needed $25 million to fight the initiative. Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has promised to marry gay couples at City Hall and campaign actively against the ballot measure. The gay community may have a good way to keep him to his word.
Read this week's LA Weekly cover story on gay marriage.