Spring is in the air! The grass is getting greener, the birds are chirping, trees are coming back to life and flowers are blooming! There’s something else in the air, too. Something new. What is that?
Oh yeah, it’s the majority of Americans who now support marriage equality.
For the first time in a decade of polling by ABC News and The Washington Post, 53% of Americans today support same-sex marriage. That’s up from 32% in 2004, and represents a noteworthy milestone in the struggle for equality.
“People under 40 are for equality, those over 50 are generally against, with the fortysomething’s closely aligned. As I said yesterday, this is one of the issues the right will have to moderate on to improve its disastrous standing with younger voters. But I think the main practical impact here is that now any federal judges with pro-equality convictions can rest assured that pro-equality decisions will be acceptable to public opinion and not lead you to get immediately abandoned by every elected official in sight. And by 2016, the kind of equivocation on the subject that Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton engaged in will clearly be unacceptable to an equality-minded Democratic primary electorate.”
This news comes after word that some top Democrats have been whispering in Obama’s ear that the GOP may be ready to support increased gay rights.
Following a successful rejection of DADT last December, Democrats earlier this week stepped up their efforts to repeal DOMA with the Respect for Marriage Act. Though passage is unlikely, as more and more Americans come to oppose DOMA and support equality, the political cost for supporting the LGBT community now appears substantially less hostile.
Additionally, Barbara Boxer and Anthony Weiner have introduced the Equal Access to COBRA Act in their respective chambers, which if successful would provide more government benefits for same-sex partners. “All of our families deserve equal access to health insurance. This bill would help ensure that domestic partners and their families will be able to keep their health coverage if their partner loses their job,” Boxer said.
As more and more lawmakers begin listening to the voices of the American people, many are attempting to re-frame the gay marriage argument to spark new conversations and broaden support:
“Gay and lesbian couples may seem different from straight couples, but we all share similar values — like the importance of family and helping out our neighbors; worries — like making ends meet or the possibility of losing a job; and hopes and dreams — like finding that special someone to grow old with, and standing in front of friends and family to make a lifetime commitment.”
Gone are the days when gay men and women were ignored and brushed aside. More Americans than ever before are behind us, and with this historic moment in time comes greater responsibility. Now, more than ever, we must remain organized and focused with our sights set on an America that recognizes its gay population not as a minority subculture, but as equals.