With the Iowa Supreme Court approving gay marriage a few weeks back and the Vermont legislature following suit a few days later, it appears that we are close to a tipping point in the legal acceptance of gay marriage in this country. Personally I think this is a good thing as I don’t feel my own marriage is weakened by gays marrying any more than it is weakened when Britany Spears is married and divorced in a 36 hour drunken span in Las Vegas or skanks compete to win the hand of a bachelor on Fox TV. Plus any means by which loving couples, regardless of gender, are legally committed to each other strengthens our society, not weakens it.
Anti-gay groups are fighting this trend with all they have, trying to get constitutional amendments on the books outlawing gay marriage. They have to fight because they know time is not on their side. Even though polls show that Americans are split on gay marriage, it’s really an age difference that makes up that split. People over 65 strongly oppose gay marriage, while those under 25 do not. The problem for the anti-gay folks is that those over 65s are dying off while younger folks are more accepting of gays and gay marriage. For college age kids, someone being gay is like someone being left handed. A trait that is interesting and different for about 5 minutes.
The effort to approve gay marriage in Vermont and Iowa is very interesting and Salon.com has a pretty good article outlining those efforts. Vermont is a perfect example of what happens when states take slow but steady steps toward equality. That state approved Civil Unions in 2000. Nine years of civil unions showed “allowing gays and lesbians to enter into legally binding partnerships did not herald the end of the world. Fire and brimstone didn't rain down on the land, plagues didn't smite their iconic maple trees and most important of all, children in these nontraditional families were just as well-adjusted as their peers with straight parents.”
Nate Silver at the site 538.com has an interesting analysis of the political acceptance of gay marriage and has built a model on how popular a gay marriage ban is in each state and given the falling support of such bans, when gay marriage is likely to be approved. Given his analysis, he sees gay marriage being approved in each state in the following time frame. (you’re gonna have to read the whole post to get the analysis but it’s pretty dang good)
If Silver’s analysis is correct, sometime in 2013 over half the states will approve gay marriage with only the deep south not accepting gay marriage. That right there is why the anti-gay forces are trying so hard to ban gay marriage, time is working against them. So hats off to Iowa, approval of gay marriage is no longer something found on the coasts, but brought smack dab into the middle of the heartland. The promise of America is that all are created equal and that we move toward that equality slowly, sometimes awkwardly, but always forward.