Gay marriage is on a winning streak that is only gaining in momentum. It started back in November when voters in the states of Washington, Maryland and Maine made history by legalizing same-sex marriage through the power of the vote. And then there was Minnesota, Rhode Island and Delaware, states where same-sex marriage passed through the Senate and House and landed on the desks of eager governors, who each signed marriage equality measures into law, legalizing the love of same-sex couples and extending the legal rights to 12 of the 50 states throughout the nation.
If advocates of gay marriage weren’t already energized and inspired, June 26 happened. It will be know as the day that both the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and California’s Proposition 8 died as they were both struck down by the Supreme Court on a historic day and a monumental moment in the history of gay rights. This resulted in California, the nation’s most populated state, becoming the 13th state where gay marriage is legal.
Now national gay rights groups are taking that momentum and hope to persuade either the Supreme Court of Congress to legalize gay marriage across the country within the next few years. It is a feat that has come sooner than expected because of roll same-sex marriage is on and also because of the shift in American’s opinion about gay marriage. The trend has shifted favorably towards more people having acceptance.
Evan Wolfson, founder of Freedom to Marry, told NBC News:
“The answer is to win more states, win a critical mass of states, and a critical mass of public support, which creates a climate that encourages the court to do its job.”
That road begins with the states of Illinois, New Jersey and Hawaii in 2013. These three states are close and advocates are smelling victory.
In Illinois, gay marriage almost saw victory this past spring, but a lack of votes to bring the bill to the House of Representatives halted the effort. But advocates will give it another shot in late October with hopes that the Supreme Court rulings may influence more favorable votes when lawmakers gather for a short session.
New Jersey’s Gov. Chris Christie, who may have his sights set on being a presidential candidate, has already vetoed a gay-marriage bill and told lawmakers to let the people decide by putting a gay marriage initiative on the November ballot this year. Christie will not get in the way if the bill is voted into law.
And then there is Hawaii, the state that led to DOMA in the first place. Now that DOMA has been struck down, bills to authorize gay marriage have already been introduced in the state House and Senate. Gov. Neil Abercrombie, a Democrat, is in favor of gay marriage and would mostly sign a bill passed through the legislature.
In 2014, all eyes will then turn to the states of Oregon, Arizona, Colorado, Michigan, Ohio, Nevada, and New Mexico. Oregon would seem to be the closest since they are bordered by two states where gay marriage is already legal.