The Supreme Judicial Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts ruled, in a lawsuit a couple of months back, that the part of the Mass General Laws that prohibited same-sex couples from marrying one another violated the 14th Amendment's Equal Protection clause, and was therefore void.
This morning, at 12:01 am, as the insurance companies like to say, the first wedding license was issued, by the Cambridge City Clerk, to one of the 7 couples involved in the lawsuit, who were married later this day, upon waiver by a judge of the customary 3-day waiting period.
NPR's All Things Considered covered the issue -- the first state-sanctioned marriage of same-sex couples in the US -- at length, devoting their entire C-block to it, with co-host Robert Siegel on scene in Cambridge.
The *other* topic they covered today was the 50th anniversary of the *last* enormous advance in US civil rights -- Brown v. Board of Education was decided on this day, 50 years ago.
They have an audio montage of voice artists (NPR employees?) reading letters to President Eisenhower. It's really wonderful to listen to, for several reasons. The performances are great, and the delightful unselfconsciousness with which the performers read the letters from segregationists helps those of us who didn't grow up in that era better to understand the mindset of those people who didn't want their children to have to sit next to "uppity niggers" in school.
By and large, the imprecation is couched in amongst such literate polite other language that it's clear that even educated, mannered, well-thought people thought that way -- which is, by and large, *not* my opinion of most of the people whom I hear evince that sort of opinion nowadays.
And on the other side, it was heartening as well to hear the almost equal number of letters from people who realized that it had to happen, and that it *should* happen, and that in the long run, it would probably be good for everyone. Though -- as other packages in the last couple of weeks make clear -- not everything went the way everyone would have liked.
So, *did* the SJC realize they were making history on the anniversary of history? Or was it an accident?
[ UPDATE: My sister just reminded me of the most notable inequities that today's program exposed was Jeff Jacoby of the Globe commenting that he thought that the solution to the Court's decision in Mass was to let the populace decide whether to override it; whether they were 'comfortable' with it. Hey, Jeff? How would that have worked in 1954? Hey, ATC? How'd you miss the obvious question? ]