The past ten days has witnessed substantial gains for the gay rights movement. A federal court overturned Prop 8, a referendum that banned gay marriage within that state. Washington state legalized gay marriage recently, with Gov. Christine Gregoire signing the bill approving the measure into law. The Maryland House approved a bill legalizing gay marriage yesterday, and the Democratically controlled state Senate is likely to follow suit, as will Gov. Martin O’Malley (D).
The New Jersey state legislature approved a similar measure this week, although it was vetoed by Gov. Chris Christie (R), who had promised as such. Democrats in the state have promised to try and override the veto by the January 2014 deadline. Proponents of the bill say that they need only a handful more votes in both chambers in order to invalidate Christie’s veto.
So, two states legalized gay marriage this week. A third took the first steps in order to do so. And a fourth did so, only to be derailed by the last ditch efforts of the governor. Vermont, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York and Iowa already have gay marriage. And the majority of Americans, though you wouldn’t know it, are in favor of gay marriage. Support is much stronger amongst those under the age of forty than those above that age.
So, the trend is in place. The time isn’t coming for a widespread legalization and acceptance of gay marriage, it’s here. I think what’s likely to happen is that the blue states will first largely accept gay marriage, by which point, a stage of critical mass will have been reached to the point where the Supreme Court is eventually going to have no choice, but either to accept gay marriage outright, or to get governments out of the marriage business altogether, leaving the term marriage for the churches, and giving out civil unions for everyone going forward (refer to Loving v. Virginia, a 1967 Supreme Court case dealing with interracial marriage that has many parallels to this subject).
But make no mistake about it, gay marriage is here, it is being accepted and institutionalized. Trying to reverse or even stall these kinds of social trends is impossible. Turning the clock back, time and again, has been demonstrated in history to be a futile enterprise. So, it’s with conviction and pleasure that I think it’s safe to say that in the battle for gay marriage, the tide is turning, it’s turning now, and it’s turning decisively.