The Washington Blade reportsthat the number of same-sex marriage licenses issued by DC is proving to be much lower than expected, generating fewer city fees than officials had hoped. Worse yet, the gays aren’t shelling out money for lavish wedding parties and gifts in the way city merchants might have hoped. (See Mark Lee’s “D.C. wedding blues, food truck rules.”)
The perceived economic benefit of allowing same-sex marriages to be performed in DC was one of the arguments that helped pass the legislation in 2010. Gay couples were expected to buoy the city’s flagging economy during these lean times. Turns out they’re more “recession” than “chic” and not as prone to spending the big bucks as some would like to portray in stereotypes.
And the big gay disappointment could get worse. Last week, Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley signed the Civil Marriage Protection Act, which legalized same-sex marriage in his state. Ceremonies could begin as early as January, taking away DC’s regional equality monopoly and further diminishing financial returns from gay weddings.
The Maryland same-sex marriage law may go to a November ballot referendum, when Maryland voters go to the polls and decide minority rights by majority rule. Who knows what will happen? This is why implementation of the law was postponed until January 2013.
Still, even if Maryland does succeed in stealing away DC’s gay money marriages, at least we’ve still got good old Virginia, which will no doubt keep prevent same sex marriage — or recognizing them — for years to come. DC actually began recognizing out-of-state same-sex marriages in 2009, and New York and Maryland did the same before passing legislation allowing same-sex couples to marry.