The beginning of the end for gay marriage foes?
Is this the beginning of the end? Thirty-two times, anti-gay coalitions have put the civil rights of gay men and women to a popular vote and thirty-two times, voters have chosen inequality and discrimination. Thirty-two times, anti-gay propaganda has scared the public into making the wrong choice. Thirty-two times, lies fearlessly and shamefully propagated by a religious right won. Until last night. Both Main and Maryland have decisively voted to allow gay marriage in their states, Minnesota refused to enshrine discrimination against gays into their constitution and a few days we’ll know Washington’s choice. It looks good their.
This isn’t just history, a bellwether if you will, this is the turning point. Anti-gay forces have always had that number—32—on their side and have been proud to say the march toward equality is the product of judicial activism and biased lawmakers. They wanted the people to choose. Well, they got what they wanted.
Organizations like The National Organization for Marriage, The Family Research Council, the California Family Council (the group behind Proposition 8) have started their long fade toward irrelevance. They’ll finally join the ranks of the KKK as fringe hate-groups, relegated to the shadows of American politics where they belong. Their leaders, Ron Prentice, Brian Brown, Andrew Pugno, Maggie Gallagher, Bryan Fischer, will go down on the wrong side of history, labeled as anti-gay bigots. Hopefully they wear that label proudly, because they earned it and they deserve it.
There’s a long way to go. The issues before the Supreme Court, like the Defense of Marriage Act and Proposition 8, are the next big step and with the current court, the outcome isn’t certain. But when it comes to the United States and putting gay marriage to vote, this is really just an issue of simple math. The generation coming into power—one I just barely belong to—votes for gay marriage almost 3 to 2, and those kind of numbers cut across partisan divides (young Republicans are more 1 to 1 on their vote, but we’re talking about the most conservative of the coming generation, so… still). In this election, this young group made up 19 percent of voters. That’s one-point higher than in 2008 and a research group at Tuft’s university says young voters make up 22 percent of the eligible voting population, so that’s a pretty striking turnout.
Let me put it very simply, and I hope this a cliché sometime very soon because that means more and more of us are recognizing it: those voting against equality for gay Americans are on the wrong side of history.