As same-sex couples rush to “marry” in California (again) following a state high court ruling and before a referendum there on the subject, the New York Times takes a look at the “mixed bag” which is same-sex marriage across the country in Massachusetts, the first state to legalise such contracts (2004). Case studies cover a wide range: partners who never wanted to marry; who were advised against it; who couldn’t agree about the step; those who say it has changed their relationship for the better; those who have since divorced; those who are struggling to make it work; those who allow third parties in.
After an initial rush, “marriages” have dropped right back: of more than 10,500 since 2004, 6121 happened in the first six months and the number has dropped each year to 867 in the first eight months of 2007. The Census Bureau reported that there were 23,655 same-sex households in Massachusetts in 2006. Nearly two-thirds of the weddings have involved lesbian partners, and while nearly half of real marriages involve people under 30, same-sex couples tend to be older — nearly a third are in their 40s.
One lesbian couple who had been together for nine years but five months after the wedding one of them decided she was "straight". "Maybe being married trigged those feelings," said the other. "I didn't see it coming." Prominent among the split couples are Julie and Hillary Goodridge, the lead plaintiffs in the case that paved the way for same-sex “marriage” in the state. One of them has a daughter, Annie. Their separation after only two years was described by a spokeswoman as “the maturation of marriage”. ~ New York Times, June 15