Is Legal Same-Sex Marriage Inevitable?

| Polling guru Nate Silver has built a regression model, based on demographic and political trends, to forecast when a majority of the voting public in each of the 50 states might vote against a gay-marriage ban, or vote to repeal an existing one. His findings: by 2016, most states will have legalized gay marriage, with Mississippi alone holding on until 2024. His analysis is loaded with caveats but, in light of the Iowa Supreme Court’s ruling against the state’s gay-marriage ban, raises an interesting question: is legal same-sex marriage inevitable? [%comments]

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  1. Greg says:

    State laws are nice, but supreme court decisions have more staying power.

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  2. Jason says:

    #32 – you’re pathetic. If you actually had gay friends and cared about them, you wouldn’t speak like that.

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  3. Shay says:

    “Marriage is about child raising… and passing on values and capacities to new “human starts” (as R.B. Fuller called them). ”

    Not to the thousands of childless (by choice or biology) couples out there, it’s not.

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  4. Tim says:

    Steve I take it you missed the news that Vermont’s democratically-elected legislature just voted to override the governor’s veto and allow gay marriage? Not to mention that California’s legislature has twice voted for gay marriage only to be thwarted by Arnold’s veto.

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  5. AaronS says:

    Jason (#34)…

    I do have gay friends. They know PRECISELY where I stand.

    I will not be pressured into changing my mind by your implication that I must be narrow-minded, ill-informed, or bigoted.

    Again, you don’t get to REDEFINE words just because you want to. Words means something. And to keep them meaning something, we have to maintain our definitions.

    You know, I would love to play Major League Baseball…and I could do pretty well if they threw the ball much, much slower and had only the pitcher to run down any hits. I could strut around and say I was a Major Leaguer. BUT THAT’S NOT BASEBALL! And I don’t get to change the rules so that it meets my requirements. If that’s true of baseball, how much more of marriage.

    Jason, I know you are likely very passionate about this matter. I certainly do not mean to offend you. But I have an opinion that I think is valid in this matter, and must be considered.

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  6. R. Katz says:


    As a classicist, I feel compelled to respond to your comparison of the marriages of ancient Greece with those of today.

    In some parts of ancient Greece, a relationship between two men, usually one older and one younger, could indeed be seen as an integral part of the younger man’s worldly education. The older partner would serve as the younger’s mentor in many ways, and a sexual aspect to this relationship was not unusual.
    On the other hand, marriage was a social contract between a man and a woman which would produce legitimate children in the eyes of the state. (Before anyone goes off to argue that this is precisely how it should be today, consider that in the ancient world Greek women were treated in a manner that is completely untenable in modern America. I, for one, would like to think that a modern marriage can mean something more than what would today amount to the virtual enslavement of women.)

    As I understand it, modern marriage has become an outward expression of the love between two people and involves much more than just the possible raising of children (enough has already been said about the issue of children, I think). For example, think of federal rights; even where same-sex marriage is legal, same-sex couples are denied over one thousand federal rights. Such a thing as federal rights for same-sex couples would never have occurred to the Greeks, especially because they valued marriage and homosexual relationships as different institutions altogether. Today, however, the same no longer holds true, mostly because modern marriage is in fact quite different from its ancient counterpart. People can now marry out of love alone, and even the Greeks recognized that love could take three forms: between two males, between two females, and between one of each (see Plato’s Symposium). Speculation may be idle, but if the Greeks had married for love, perhaps they might have introduced same-sex marriage.
    Thus, as much as I appreciate the consideration being given to classical culture, I believe that there are simply too many disparities between the ancient Greek and modern American institutions of marriage to permit such a comparison.

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  7. Cherizz says:

    Put yourselves in the shoes of others and try to think about it from their perspective.

    Put your beliefs about religion, about why/how people may choose/to be born into having an attraction with the same sex.

    Civil marriage allows the participants many legal protections that single people don’t have the opportunity to take part in. Is it fair that the general public has a say in whether or not a couple that is of the same sex to take part in these legal protections? I believe that this is a personal matter. Why should anyone else have the power to decide their relationship status? What if people questioned who you married and decided that that your choice wasn’t who they had in mind? Would you think that it would be fair for them to vote on who you should/shouldn’t marry?

    Same-sex marriage should be a choice made by those that are looking to marry their same sex.

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  8. Sara says:

    AaronS: While I understand your argument, I have to take issue with the fact that we can’t redefine something such as marriage because its original definition was inherently bigoted. The problem is that there is a difference between “religious” marriage, done in a church, which churches should always be able to define themselves, and “civil” marriage, as regulated and defined by the government. Civil marriage should be expanded in definition to include any two consenting adults, same gender or not. We could call this a civil union, but people, gay and straight, have a sentimental attachment to the word “marriage.” You exemplify this by getting upset at the thought of someone trying to redefine it. But you aren’t the only one sentimentally attached to the word marriage — so are many gays who want to be able to experience the same thing with their lifelong partners. To them, “civil union” sounds a little separate-but-equal-y.

    But anyway, would you be alright with the government eliminating the marriage verbage and calling everything “civil unions” with equal rights for gay and straight couples? Because you argue as if you would, and that you only take issue with the word marriage itself.

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