Since gay marriage became legal in Massachusetts seven years ago, I've been watching what happens in other states as it becomes legal there. Here's what you should expect when gay marriage first becomes legal:
Protests. Unfortunately, gay marriage is a divisive issue and there will be significant protests on both sides of the issue and an attempt to ban gay marriage. As licenses are first issued, you can expect protesters outside of the building where licenses are issued. Already in New York, there is one City Clerk who swears she will not issue licenses to same-sex couples.
Longtime couples. The first wave of people to get married are typically couples who have been waiting for years for that right. These couples may have been together 20, 30 or 40 years and may have kids. One of the reasons they'll go first is because they have a fear of the right to marriage equality getting stripped away as it was in California and Maine.
Tourists. There will be an influx of destination gay weddings from neighboring states - especially since New York is the most popular tourist destination in the U.S. for LGBT individuals. Couples will come in for two or three days to get their license and head back to their home area.
Bewilderment and anxiety. The couples who don't get a quick license at City Hall will think to themselves, "wow, I never thought I could married, now what kind of wedding do I want?" It's stressful and confusing.
Horror stories of bad vendor experiences. Couples will begin to navigate the wedding industry and find that there are lots of references and photos of just a bride and a groom and that some vendors are not comfortable working with them - or flat out refuse to.
Big weddings. After gay marriage is legal for awhile, has stablized and starts to sink in, the couples who are of a more typical marrying age and may have more support from their families, will start to marry. This means bigger weddings, more money spent and a normalization of gay weddings.
You should know that, in Massachusetts, 64% of same-sex couples married in the first year, 21% married in the second year, and 15% married in the third year.
If gay marriage is legal in your area, what have you observed?