Eight months ago, Vice President Joe Biden set in motion a great national evolution when speaking to CBS, he said
I am absolutely comfortable with the fact that men marrying men, women marrying women, and heterosexual men and women marrying another are entitled to the same exact rights, all the civil rights, all the civil liberties.
It wasn't long before President Barack Obama declared his own "evolution" and embraced equality, setting of celebrations among freedom-loving liberals and, yes, celebrations among bigots convinced this would be the death knell of the Obama presidency. As one online conservative gloated at the time:
If there is a day to finger for Barack Obama losing the Presidency in 2012, it will be Sunday, May 6, 2012.
On that day, Joe Biden* went on national television and proclaimed himself in favor of gay marriage. It started a media spiral for the President. Two days after Biden spoke, North Carolina voters voted by overwhelming margins to leave marriage alone. The next day, Barack Obama went on national television to devolve back to the position he held prior to running for President [...]
*Okay, in fairness, we could arguably say August 23, 2008, was the day Obama lost his re-election. That’s the day he chose Biden to be veep and we all knew it was only a matter of time...
Delicious, isn't it? Things have only looked worse for the haters since mid 2012, as we'll see below the fold. But a hint: They're even endangered in WYOMING. Yup. That bad.
Conservatives didn't just lose their first marriage equality ballot initiative in November of 2012, but got swept in four of them, including Maine which had as recently as 2009 voted the other way. In fact, Maine is quite instructive in the dizzying pace of social change. In the 2009 initiative, marriage equality lost 53-47. In the 2012 edition, it won ... 53-47, a 12-point shift in just three years.
The speed of social change continues unabated. Last year, Chick-Fil-A embraced its role as corporate bigot not just in words (gay marriage proponents were "inviting God's judgment on our nation"), but by encouraging the hilarious "Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day movement" in which bigots flocked to the fast food chain to clog their arteries with extra cholesterol. Apparently, shortening their life spans was supposed to make us liberals mad, or something.
Yet by September the chain had caved on donations to anti-gay groups, and earlier this week?
The leader of a national gay-rights group says he’s coming out–as a friend of Chick-fil-A CEO Dan Cathy.
Meanwhile, another culture warrior organization is on the verge (at least partially) of throwing in the towel
The Boy Scouts of America, one of the nation’s largest private youth organizations, is actively considering an end to its decades-long policy of banning gay scouts or scout leaders, according to scouting officials and outsiders familiar with internal discussions.
If adopted by the organization’s board of directors, it would represent a profound change on an issue that has been highly controversial -- one that even went to the US Supreme Court. The new policy, now under discussion, would eliminate the ban from the national organization’s rules, leaving local sponsoring organizations free to decide for themselves whether to admit gay scouts.
Membership in the Scouts has dropped from 4 million members in 1986, to 3.4 million in 1998 to 2.65 million last year. There is an entire generation of fathers (me included) who spent time in the Scouts but would never consider it for their boys.
Don't worry, though. The Scouts will continue to ban atheists! And Alabama haters should be safe. But that's not enough for Tony Perkins, who is seeing his entire hate-built world view crumbling around him. Very, very delicious!
Young people continue to embrace equality while older haters die off. Hopes that Latinos were "socially conservative" and could help stem the tide were dashed this past November, when exit polls showed them even more socially liberal than the American population at large. People (including me) forgot that on top of everything else, Latinos are young. The median age of native-born Latinos is EIGHTEEN. In our society, youth equals tolerance.
After years of using anti-gay ballot initiatives to drive up their base participation, it is now Republicans who are afraid of those mean Democrats using "divisive social issues" for political gain. Gay marriage is on the cusp of becoming a reality in several more states, from Illinois to Minnesota, from Hawaii to New Jersey.
But it's not just the Blue states. How about one of the Reddest of all?
A bill allowing gay couples to enter into domestic partnerships got the support of a Wyoming House of Representatives committee Monday for the first time in the state's history.
The House Corporations, Elections and Political Subdivisions Committee voted 7-2 to recommend approval of House Bill 168 and send it to the full House.
The decision to advance the domestic partnership legislation came moments after the same committee voted 5-4 to reject a bill to legalize gay marriage in the state.
Literally a decade ago, Howard Dean's support for civil unions in Vermont was considered so crazy that it would doom any general election presidential chances. This week, it passed easily in Wyoming, and only after gay freakin' marriage lost by a single vote
in committee. IN WYOMING! Perhaps we shouldn't be surprised. A bill to recognize out-of-state marriages failed the state Senate last year by just two votes
The tide has turned, whether the Supreme Court invalidates Prop 8 or not later this year and affirms full national marriage equality. (My guess is that it will, with Chief Justice John Roberts' vote, igniting a level of conservative angst unseen since ... perhaps ever.)
The pace of change is breathtaking. And while much of that can be attributed to time—the changing of the generations—that's not the full story. Maine didn't shift 12 points in three years because old bigots died off. It did so because the equality movement is one of the most effective in our nation's history. It's truly awe-inspiring.