With the exception of a stubborn county clerk in rural Kentucky, the majority of Americans appear to have made their peace with same-sex marriage.
The Gallup polling organization has been tracking Americans’ opinions on same-sex marriagesince 1996, when nearly 70 percent of Americans opposed the legal right of gay and lesbian couples to wed. A July 2015 poll showed nearly 60 percent support for same-sex marriage across the country.
The long road to acceptance began in the spring of 2004, when Massachusetts became the first state in the nation to legalize same-sex marriage. Over the next decade, more than half the states in the country had made it legal for gay men and lesbians to marry their partners.
But it wasn’t until the United States Supreme Court ruled in the summer of 2015 that all Americans, no matter their state of residence, had the right to marry their same-sex partners and to have their marriages recognized no matter where in the U.S. they traveled.
As 2015 comes to a close, it has been six months since the Supreme Court’s ruling that banning same-sex marriage violates the rights granted to every American under the United States Constitution.
According to the LA Times, nearly 100,000 gay and lesbian couples have wed since the landmark decision. Reporter David Lauter wrote on Nov. 6, 2015, that the number of married same-sex couples in the United States is nearing 1 million — roughly 972,000 according to figures available when his article was written.
Same-sex marriages are less than 1 percent of the 2.1 million marriages in the United States each year, but the number is growing. According to a Gallup survey on which Lauter based his article, the number of married same-sex couples jumped from 38 percent before the Supreme Court ruling to 45 percent since.
The news is good for the future of gay marriage. Young people, according to Gallup and other polls, are the greatest supporters of marriage equality. Gay and lesbian couples who have already married are ambassadors for the LGBT community, proving that broader marriage rights strengthen the institution as a whole.
Case in point: an opinion column by the Washington Post’s Kathleen Parker, who wrote two years before the Supreme Court ruling about one-time gay marriage opponent David Blankenhorn. The founder of the Institute for American Values, Blankenhorn continues to believe that marriage is the foundational unit of the American family, and that children should be born into homes where their parents — ideally a man and a woman — are married.
But, Parker wrote in January 2013, Blankenhorn’s position evolved into one of support of same-sex marriage because of its ability to broaden the institution of marriage.
“Marriage,” Blankenhorn has written, “is a gift that society bestows on its children.”
Even though Blankenhorn’s opinions about marriage and family may be somewhat outdated in their entirety, his recognition that gay and lesbian couples function no differently in society than heterosexual couples is encouraging.
Parker wrote, “It is simply not possible to justify offering societal protections to only certain children. As Blankenhorn has recognized, it is in everyone’s best interest that all children in all families have the security of parents committed through marriage with all its attendant rights and responsibilities.”
John Keefe is an avid blogger and professional Wedding Officiant in Oklahoma City. John is passionate about sharing information online through his blogs, on youtube, and provides local marriage services in OKC to his local community with Lifelong Wedding Ceremonies Wedding Officiants.