California Legalizes Day Marriage

This article was originally published on Humorality, on February 1, 2010.

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In a move that is sure to ruffle the feathers of religious conservatives, the state of California has passed a measure legalizing the right of couples to marry for 24 hours or less, also known as “day marriage.” Within hours of the marriage bill becoming law, supporters began crowding the steps of the courthouse in Beverly Hills, the city eponymous with a single day of wedded bliss, waving signs with the movement’s “Go Ahead, Make My Day” motto.

The bill went to Governor Schwarzenegger’s desk as part of a spending package with $23 billion in budget cuts. The governor had vowed to veto any change in marriage standards that crossed his desk. But with the marriage bill’s link to the massive overhaul of state spending that he asked for, “I had to decide which was more important for our state: money or marriage.”

“I never thought this day would come,” said Chuck Cokesbury, standing with a nervous woman who identified herself only as Crystal. “I finally get to marry the woman I love. I’m just glad all of the pressure of a long-term commitment is finally gone.”

As early as next month, counties will be able to issue official Marriage Day Passes to any couple waiting to take a trip down the aisle. In a compromise plan to obtain several key Republican votes, the law includes a three-day waiting period.

Robert Patterson, pastor of the 5,000-member Church of My Way or the Highway in Orange County, ridiculed the new law. “What right does the government have to redefine marriage? Marriage has always been about the union of a man and a woman for a lifetime. It was Moses himself who added the ’till death do us part’ part in there. You can’t get any more authoritative than that.”

Opponents of quickie marriages have begun circulating a petition for a new amendment to the United States Constitution that would require a minimum length of two months for all new marriages, and put an end to the “weekly unions” enacted by some states. The group, calling itself Americans for the Long Haul, has already received endorsements from such luminaries as Elizabeth Taylor and Britney Spears. They hope to have the language for an amendment before Congress by the big June marriage season.

“They just want to push their death-marriage message on the rest of us,” said Sybil Abaddon, president of What a Difference a Day Makes, a pro-day-marriage group. “Personally, I don’t see what all the fuss is about. Reducing marriage down to an intense, loving one-day event is not going to destroy the institution, especially when it qualifies spouses for joint filing on their annual tax returns.”

Tim Patrick

Tim Patrick is an author, software developer, and the host of Japan Everyday. He has published a dozen books and hundreds of articles covering technology, current events, and life in Japan. Find his latest books at

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