June 18, 2008: just ten years ago today. Same sex marriage became legal in California. After a long battle and with still-contentious opponents, the first marriage licenses were granted to Gay and Lesbian couples all over the state. A new era began in California as the rush kicked into high-gear. Since California had no residency law, couples were streaming in from all over the country to “make it legal” just before midnight the night before. San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom officiated the very first legalized marriage and then the flood was on. Not everyone was thrilled – protests gathered outside City Hall, while Bay Area wedding planners were swamped while banquet halls, hotels, parks and every conceivable place to hold a wedding was booked with an estimated half of California’s gay couples getting married within the next few days. This new found rush in nuptials was expected to grab some $360 million in revenue for the State.
Meanwhile, floods of another kind as Midwest residents scrambled for higher ground as waters rose at a record rate. In some areas, where water was receding, residents were not allowed back into their homes out of concern the waters could return. In other areas, fears were mounting as the Mississippi River was overflowing its banks and heading straight for many farm communities nearby. A costly disaster, especially for growers whose crops were now under water.
And a new report said it was a worsening problem; tens of millions of refugees escaping war and other calamities were going to create a major problem for relief agencies throughout the world – so said the United Nations. 37 million people were forced from their homes in 2007 alone with the biggest share from Iraq and Afghanistan. Environmental degradation and rising food prices were generating a new instability, adding millions more to the rootless life of the refugee.
And that’s a small slice of what went on, this June 18, 2008 from the CBS World News Roundup.