Same-sex marriage and public opinion

Public opinion data is revealing a bright forecast for same-sex marriage rights.

by Paul Barta — University student

In an incredible showing, support for same-sex marriage has increased by approximately 23 points between 1996 and 2013, according to Gallup and American statistician Nate Silver. Every generation polled by the Pew Research Center, with one exception, has seen an increase in support by at least six points each, including those  between the ages of 67 and 84, who have seen an increase of 10 points.

Those red equal signs you saw as many Facebook users’ profile pictures aren’t statistical anomalies; they are a true example of what is actually happening to the support of same-sex marriage in the U.S. right now.

As a generation, I don’t believe we’ve seen that kind of uptick in support for anything along those lines. Heated issues such as abortion have been at a relative standstill, and presidential and congressional support tends to move with greater positive and negative fluctuation, but this is different. This is an unprecedented increase at unprecedented speed.

Save for another Great Awakening involving America diving headfirst into fundamentalist policy, supporting the idea of same-sex marriage is the “new normal” and will soon become the “normal normal.” Silver, as noted in the past two presidential elections, is a man whose numbers you should never doubt. Silver projects that by 2020, only one state will be somewhat opposed to same-sex marriage if it is placed on a ballot initiative, in comparison to 21 such states in 2008.

Opponents of same-sex marriage, whose views I respect, albeit in disagreement, have all but lost in the public eye. Every small victory that could be given to these opponents will be slammed down with a harder defeat.

Even if, hypothetically speaking, the Supreme Court allows the Defense of Marriage Act to retain its constitutionality, it will still probably be thrown aside by the American public within the next few decades. In other words, the train isn’t coming. It has already passed.