The Economics of Equality

Same-sex marriage is fair, festive, and potentially profitable.

By Edgar Allen Beem

At the stroke of midnight, as Friday, December 28, 2012, ticked over into Saturday, December 29, 2012, same-sex marriage became legal in Maine and hundreds of supporters and celebrants gathered at Portland City Hall to observe the historic occasion. As three hundred well-wishers, buoyed by jazz bands, bubble blowing, boutonnières, free cupcakes, and signs reading “Thank you, Maine,” braved temperatures in the twenties outside on the plaza, fifteen gay and lesbian couples were admitted to the second floor city clerk’s office one at a time to receive their marriage licenses.

The first couple through the door were massage therapist Michael Snell and photographer Steven Bridges, both smiling ear to ear and wearing matching “Love is Love” T-shirts. Along with Mayor Michael Brennan, City Clerk Katherine Jones, and vital records clerk Christina Horne, Snell and Bridges, who have been together for nine years, were met by a crush of media, all jockeying and juggling in order to find the best angle to document Maine’s first gay marriage license.

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Edgar Allen Beem is a freelance writer from Yarmouth who has been contributing to Down East since 1983.

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