Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Chapel of Love

I thought that I would indulge in a little thought experiment: suppose I was a member of a gay couple seeking to wed in California. What could I learn about the process and its associated procedures and products from merely doing Google searches on the web. Of course, there is a certain amount of official information from the state authorities, such as these instructions for clerks, but it is surprising how little how-to advice there is to be had on the web, given the DIY culture that the Internet promulgates.

The search engine results from "gay marriage California" and "gay wedding California" obviously carry different connotations, but the emphasis in both sets of web pages suggested by the Google algorithm is frequently on policy rather than ceremony. For example, although there are many wedding planner sites on the web for straight couples, there are surprisingly few matrimony mavens proffering their services for gay intendeds. Sites like "Plan Your Gay Wedding" offer little more than bullet points, and there are still just about as many results for "gay wedding Canada" as there are for "gay wedding California," despite the state's draw to out-of-state tourists.

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