The Corner

California Ruling

There are plenty of things to say about the California court decision on gay marriage. Months after voters in red and blue states unequivocally rejected same-sex marriage, and a few years after California voters decisively did the same, it’s striking (though not at all surprising) that a judge would do this. But I think the real significance of this decision lies in the cultural influence of California. California is a huge chunk of the country. More than that, I assume (although I haven’t checked this) that California has no law like the Massachusetts statute that bans marrying out-of-state couples if the marriage in question would be illegal in their home state. If true, this would turn California into the Las Vegas of same-sex marriage. But the really important point is that California is one of our two media capitals–and arguably the most influential of the two. Give Hollywood real married couples to work with and it will flood the nation with movies, documentaries, television shows, news reports, etc. That will change the culture. Of course, California has long been famous as the origin point of national social trends. When it comes to the fundamental meaning of marriage, state borders won’t matter. It’s an illusion to believe that this country can operate with two fundamentally different ideas about the core meaning of marriage. If California goes, it will kick the culture war over gay marriage into overdrive. A national showdown will follow fairly quickly. In the meantime, we’ll be divided into recognizing states and non-recognizing states, and will rapidly discover how untenable that situation is. For more, see my “National Nuptials.”

Stanley Kurtz — Stanley Kurtz is a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center.

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