Two years ago— in 2006 — gay marriage was all the rage in politics. Two years before that, it was a white-hot button topic that drove people all across the country into a fiery fury the political version of a feeding frenzy.
Now, in 2008, it’s just not that big of a deal, which is something for which that gay couples and other fair-minded folks can be very grateful. Gay marriage has been a reality in Massachusetts for a few years now, and civil unions or registered domestic partnerships are legal in several states. California joined the “gay marriage recognized” column this year with a landmark state supreme court ruling.
To make matters more complicated, three states — New York, Rhode Island, and New Mexico — recognize any same-sex marriage from another country. More and more, gay couples across the US have options that allow them to be united and have some form of legal recognition.
Which brings us to this year’s ballot. Constitutional amendments that would ban same-sex marriage are on the ballot in three states: California, Arizona, and Florida.
In 2006, Arizona was one of eleven states that had a similar amendment on its ballot. It failed. Proposition 102 is a second attempt to write discrimination in to that state’s constitution, leaving some to believe that it probably won’t pass. Arizona Together, a group formed to fight a similar marriage amendment in 2006, has continued an aggressive campaign against the measure: “Vote no again.”
Florida’s amendment appears to be in the questionable stage since the required 60% majority might be difficult for supporters to reach. With several high profile officials including Miami’s mayor, opposing the measure, it appears that its defeat just might be in sight.
California, on the other hand, has been the center of this year’s marriage debate. When that state’s supreme court struck down Proposition 22 which banned gay marriage, the outrage reached a fever pitch. The argument has been that the court ignored the will of the people. Of course, this is a moot point since the California legislature voted to allow gay marriage — twice — and garnered a veto from Governor Schwarzenegger both times. He deferred the matter to the court.
Since then, the polls clearly indicate that California voters are not so eager to throw gay marriage back into the closet, and even the Governator has said he will not support the amendment. After an influx of cash from the Mormon church, several high profile celebrities has donated to the “vote no on 8” campaign: Steven Spielberg and Brad Pitt have each donated $100,000 to the cause.
It would seem that after a series of high-profile celebrity outings, the American public is beginning to realize just how many of us their anti-gay bias will affect. First it was Ray Boltz, and then Clay Aiken. Heck, even Lindsey Lohan has finally fessed up that her all-too-masculine female friend has been her girlfriend “for a long time.”
To make matters even more interesting, the debate has barely even touched the lips of either Senators John McCain or Barack Obama.
Is it possible that maybe we’ve started to get over it? Could it be that maybe this once hot potato is finally ready to be mashed? I sure hope so.