Gay marriage: Is California the tipping point?

All of the nation's same-sex couples can now tie the knot in California, and then return to their home states, which are bound to honor the marriages.

In California, it’s “the new summer of love,” said Patricia Leigh Brown in The New York Times. Hundreds of gay couples were married in California this week, just weeks after the historic ruling by the California Supreme Court legalizing same-sex marriage. Unlike Massachusetts, the other state to marry same-sex couples, California even permits gays and lesbians from other states to marry there. Opponents of gay marriage, needless to say, are apoplectic, and hope to overturn the court’s decision through a statewide referendum this November. But by then the genie will be out of the bottle, said Andrew Sullivan in As gay couples come back from California with their marriage certificates and wedding rings, citizens of every state are about to learn what those in Canada and Massachusetts already know—that letting people marry whomever they choose does not destroy society. In other words, finally, “we win.”

Not yet you don’t, said Jeffrey Bell in The Weekly Standard. Gay-marriage advocates may come to wish that California’s court had not been so sweeping and highhanded. For one thing, by effectively inviting all the nation’s same-sex couples to come get married in California—marriages that other states will be constitutionally bound to honor—California has invited a higher, federal court to step in to prevent chaos. With its arrogance, California has also guaranteed that same-sex marriage will “become a national issue this fall,” galvanizing conservatives to elect a president who will fill openings on the U.S. Supreme Court with judges who take a dim view of such judicial activism. The gay-marriage lobby, in other words, has badly overplayed its hand.

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