It’s been a long time coming, but the recent surge in support for marriage equality makes it seem like an unstoppable reality in the not-too-distant future. While there’s still plenty of work to be done, the latest events might be promising enough to inspire long-term same-sex couples to start a wedding registry. Let’s look at the most recent progress:
1. Public Opinion Polls Are at an All-Time High
According to a new Washington Post-ABC poll, 58% of Americans are now in favor of legalizing same-sex marriage. Just one decade ago, only 37% of people felt the same way. Moreover, this opinion is not one the public takes lightly: 41% of the population feels “strongly” that gay marriage should be legal.
Perhaps most exciting of all is the fact that an outstanding 81% of 18 to 29-year-olds are in favor of marriage equality. With such an overwhelming sentiment, there can be little doubt that laws will be changed as each subsequent generation takes over.
See the infographic below for more stats on this.
2. Faith-Based Communities Are Coming Around
The Episcopal Church and the United Church of Christ have already adopted policies allowing their pastors to perform same-sex ceremonies, but now a North Carolina United Methodist Church is taking a different approach to the issue: The church will no longer perform any wedding ceremonies.
“Because the United Methodist Church prohibits its pastors from conducting same-sex weddings, excluding gay and lesbian couples from the holy sacrament of marriage, the Leadership Council has asked the pastor to refrain from conducting wedding ceremonies in our sanctuary for straight couples, until the denomination lifts its ban for same-sex couples,” the church declared in a statement.
3. Top Politicians Are No Longer Waffling
Vice President Joe Biden isn’t shy about acknowledging his support for same-sex marriage. Neither is Rob Portman, a Republican Senator from Ohio… or at least not now that his own son came out as gay and he is able to see the issue from a new perspective. However, the big political endorsement to emerge this week is Hillary Clinton.
Clinton, the presumed Presidential frontrunner in 2016, has had a history of skirting around the issue of gay marriage, taking a middle ground to appease all sides. Now, though, she released a video where she unequivocally backs marriage equality. While a Clinton candidacy is still hypothetical at this point, her words are a welcome sign that politicians are viewing gay marriage as less of a divisive issue and more of an inevitability worthy of aligning with.
4. Unprecedented Support from Corporations
While politicians are fairly influential to the political process, let’s not kid ourselves – the corporations are the government’s real decision-makers in its current, corrupted form. Armed with money and lobbyists, large companies tend to get what they want in Washington and – for once – it just so happens that they are putting that clout behind a progressive cause. As the New York Times reports, over 100 major corporations have signed new briefs supporting same-sex marriage including Google, Facebook, eBay, Goldman Sachs, Nike, Office Depot and Abercrombie & Fitch.
Lloyd Blanfein, CEO of Goldman Sachs, says that he typically doesn’t feel it is appropriate for his company to take public stances on social issues. “But in this case, this is a business issue,” he explains. “We have a very important gay community at the firm, including members of senior management… This happens to coincide with my personal views, but that’s not why we’re [lending our support].”
5. It’s on the Supreme Court Docket
Two cases facing the Supreme Court on March 26 & 27 are going to have a significant impact on same-sex marriage moving forward. One will examine the legality of California’s Proposition 8. The other will decide whether 1996’s Defense of Marriage Act discriminates by not allowing same-sex couples to receive equal benefits. Both cases could offer massive legal precedents depending on the rulings.
Given the court’s conservative majority, it is difficult to predict whether same-sex couples and allies will have something to celebrate in the upcoming weeks. However, there is some optimism that Justice Anthony Kennedy will side with the liberals given his decisions on similar cases and that Chief Justice John Roberts might prefer to stay on the right side of history on this issue.