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Civil marriage in NYC: Before history, some history

by Jeremy Hooper

The NEA news service, 1974:

Screen Shot 2011-07-20 At 12.15.48 Pm

That last graph is particularly interesting, in light of how a tiny few socially conservative clerks are reacting to their civil marriages duties today. Then: Throw in a quick "God Bless You," which most likely would be received without incident. Now: Freak the frack out about how the couple is stifling your religious freedom, then rush to the nearest advocacy group and press outlet to make yourself a "culture war" talking point.

But whatever. Civil marriage has always been detached from the ancillary (even if oft-utilized) religious ceremonial component. It is up to the defiant religious right to honor that, not us to pretend that our "now" is something beyond what's always been.

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