After a disastrous series of elections, culminating in the passage of a host of gay marriage bans in 2004 (helping motivate the Republican base), gay rights is back on the move. The court in Iowa and legislatures in Vermont and Maine have recently legalized gay marriage.
When California voters passed Proposition 8, reversing the state’s Supreme Court legalization of gay marriage in 2008, it was assumed the movement was on the defensive. But today, advocates are hoping for a national breakthrough. Although Democrats in Congress are still shy on the issue and no Supreme Court case is in sight, state courts are writing eloquent briefs in favor and finally gay marriage is winning legislative votes.
Public opinion also appears to be shifting. A recent Washington Post survey reported a near majority now favoring legalizing gay marriage, up from only 36 percent in favor just three years ago.
Young voters continue to be the main base of support – 66 percent support legalizing gay marriage. But, two groups that had been strongly opposed are now more accepting: White Catholics (60% illegal, now down to 47% illegal) and independents (support climbs to 52 % from 43%).