ANSWERS: 8
  • Welcome to Iowa, The Don't Ask, Don't Tell State!
  • Nationwide, same-sex marriage may well be a generation away. In the short run, the prospects for same-sex marriage do look good. The bitter disappointment following November's vote on Proposition 8, when 52% of the California electorate inscribed "marriage is for straights" into the state Constitution, has receded. Rejuvenated same-sex-marriage advocates predict that New York, New Jersey, Maine and New Hampshire will soon join the same-sex-marriage bandwagon, and the California battle will be refought in a few years. In only half a decade - mach speed for such a divisive moral issue - national support for same-sex marriage has climbed 10 percentage points, to 44 percent. With younger voters more inclined to favor gay rights, this support should keep increasing.
  • Aside from Iowa, the present (Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa and Vermont) and prospective pro-gay marriage states are the usual suspects: the Northeast, which right-wingers would love to saw off the continent and send out to sea, and the West Coast. Elsewhere, it's an entirely different story. In 2004, after the Massachusetts Supreme Court became the nation's first tribunal to recognize same-sex marriage, the opponents mobilized. Well-heeled and well-organized, they convinced voters in 26 states to rewrite their constitutions, defining marriage as a heterosexuals-only affair. Anticipating a pro-same-sex marriage decree, three states had already passed such amendments. And a half dozen states don't even protect gays against discrimination. Iowa is the proverbial exception that proves the rule. Same-sex marriage advocates targeted the Hawkeye State because its court leans left and because it takes at least two years to amend the state constitution. The first same-sex weddings will be held there in a few weeks, and maybe the sight of happily married gay and lesbian couples will warm Iowans' hearts, but outside the Northeast and California, prospects are much bleaker. Over time, this picture will change - that's what the shift in attitudes means - but the change will come slowly. In an earlier era, backers of same-sex marriage would have gone to the Supreme Court, just as abortion-rights advocates did, but for now the Supreme Court is to be avoided at all costs. Political mobilization - persuading the voters to rewrite their state constitutions - is the most promising way to make America a same-sex-marriage-friendly nation. Such retail politics will be slow going. Yet as Matthew Coles, director of the ACLU's Gay and Lesbian Rights Project, points out, it's how to win hearts and minds - "not by talking about abstract issues but about the ordinary lives of gay people and how being gay makes life harder." Those will be tough conversations, but the events in Iowa and Vermont make a great conversation-starter.
  • I feel it is at hand finally !
  • Hopefully Humans in America will mature enough by then.
  • Well, it seems to be coming around a little sooner...hopefully. Living in the midwest, I was excited that Iowa has legalized it. I'm 46 and hoping to be married before I turn 50. We may just drive north to Iowa to do it! LOL!
  • Throughout the United States? -- if you'd asked me two years ago, I would have said it was 20 years away. After the last couple of weeks, I'm dropping that to somewhere in the nieghborhood of 10. I know that there are many people who disagree with the idea of same-sex civil marriage, but what has astonished me (again) is that when Americans are actually asked about something, they very rapidly do the right thing. Did you notice that, after the Massachusetts Supreme Court came out with their decision, the poll numbers flipped very quickly to a majority of Americans believing that gays and lesbians should have equal rights? And that the question then became whether that should be done through civil unions or marriage? Right now we're basically arguing about terminology. We'll get it right. Americans always do, eventually.
  • Another two states on the bandwagon, which is good news. Unfortunately, state-recognized marriage/civil union won’t get the couple federal benefits (like joint tax filing, Social Security, etc.). I’m assuming there will be a point somewhere down the line where it will dawn on most of the homophobes that allowing gays to marry doesn’t cause the country to be destroyed (much in the way that most people don’t mind any longer that people of different colors drink from the same water fountain — even though there are still a few who do). And when we reach that point, we can finally federalize the right of gays to marry, ensuring they really DO get all the same benefits of marriage as straights do.

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