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Please begin with an informative title:

On Tuesday, March 26, 2013, oral arguments in Hollingsworth v Perry, aka Perry v Brown, aka Perry v Schwarzenegger, aka The Proposition 8 Case, will be heard by the Supreme Court's Justices.

More electrons have had their charge sacrificed by more pundits pontificating on this case than any in recent memory; this diary will not attempt to argue the case or discuss standing, heightened scrutiny, or, for that matter, Justice Kennedy and which way he leans.

No, this diary seeks to document the unprecedented rapidity of change in Americans' attitudes towards same sex marriage, where those attitudes stand on the eve of this historic hearing, and how these facts might influence the court.

Let's get straight to it.

Intro

You must enter an Intro for your Diary Entry between 300 and 1150 characters long (that's approximately 50-175 words without any html or formatting markup).

Large numbers of polls have been take in these last few years on America's opinion on marriage equality. Different polls use slightly different wording, apply slightly different methodologies, and survey different numbers of people. But it is generally acknowledged that the best approach to disentangling all this is to simply average it all up.

Here is a table showing the average of all marriage equality polls I am aware of that sample American adults in the years 2011, and 2012, and 2013.

Year Favor Oppose # of Polls
2011 49.7% 44.6% 11
2012 50.2% 42.8 18
2013 52.6% 41.8% 8

Conclusion: With greater than 95% certainty we can now say that the majority of American adults support marriage equality.

Support for marriage equality has increased by three percent in less than three years, while opposition has decreased, by three percent. And there is now an eleven percent differential between supporters and opponents.

Ten years ago, though, it wasn't even close.  Here are two trend graphs of many. All of them paint the same picture, if with different colors and styles. In ten years there has been an almost complete reversal in opinion on marriage equality, from low-forties acceptance and mid fifties opposition, to mid-fifties acceptance and low-forties opposition.


 photo wapo-abc-trend_zps43af3f62.jpg

 photo Gallup-Marriage-Poll-Trending_zps59fed44b.gif

Does it matter? When Loving v Virginia was decided in 1967, declaring marriage a fundamental right, less than 20% of Americans approved of marriage between blacks and whites. On the other hand, most states permitted interracial marraige; only sixteen specifically prohibited it.  In the case of Perry, the reverse situation is the case.


 photo interracial-historial-trend-1_zps7204e43b.gif

With a majority of America in support, it is this author's opinion that the Supreme Court is unlikely to rule decisively against marriage equality. But it could easily not rule in favor, either!

It could choose to delay a reckoning in a number of ways. First, by declaring that the defendants in the Prop 8 case had no standing to appeal.  Or by issuing a narrow ruling applying only to California, affirming the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals opinion that, due to Romer and because California once had marriage equality, taking away that right is unconstitutional. It could rule less narrowly but still not decisively on nationwide marriage equality, proclaiming that separate but equal civil unions or domestic partnerships -- as are now law in California and various other states -- are inherently unconstitutional per a Brown v Board of Education take on the matter.

If they do rule narrowly though, the Justices must know that they will only have deferred the issue by two or three of years. Direct challenges in Federal court to denial of marriage to same sex couples are on hold pending the Prop 8 decision in Michigan, Nevada, Hawaii and possibly elsewhere. If/when those cases were to reach the Supreme Court, American opinion is likely to be even more lopsidedly in favor of marriage equality with more than 55% of Americans in favor and less than 40% opposed - and a significantly higher percentage of states having legalized same-sex marriage, and a large percentage of Americans living in states with marriage equality.

We won't know for certain until the end of June how the Supreme Court Justices want to deal with marriage equality.  But meanwhile we can speculate. What do you think about how they will rule?

Extended (Optional)

Originally posted to jpmassar on Fri Mar 22, 2013 at 07:12 PM PDT.

Also republished by California politics, SFKossacks, Milk Men And Women, Angry Gays, and Kossacks for Marriage Equality.

Poll

The Supreme Court will rule

20%12 votes
5%3 votes
20%12 votes
13%8 votes
35%21 votes
5%3 votes

| 59 votes | Vote | Results

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