For the first time ever, more Americans say they support gay marriage (49%) than oppose it (46%), according to the latest Washington Post/ABC poll.
That 49% supporting gay marriage, in fact, is a significant jump from 2004, when the Post/ABC poll found just 32% in favor.
This surge within the past month suggests that any backlash against the recent moves across the country to legalize gay marriage has yet to emerge.
Also in the new survey, a majority of Americans (53%) believe that their state should recognize gay marriages from other states.
Other recent polls have shown a similar increase in support for gay unions nationwide. The New York Times/CBS News poll released this week showed 42% of Americans supporting gay marriage — the highest number ever recorded in that poll. This week's Quinnipiac poll, which found a majority (55%) against gay marriage, also showed 57% of Americans support civil unions.
This isn't surprising. Iowa and Vermont now permit gay marriages, and people have seen that the sky hasn't fallen.
UPDATE: Flashback — waaaay back to less than two months ago — when the editors of the conservative National Review explained their opposition to gay marriage:
One of the great coups of the movement for same-sex marriage has been to plant the premise that it represents the inevitable future. This sense has inhibited even some who know perfectly well that marriage is by nature the union of a man and a woman. They fear that throwing themselves into the cause of opposing it is futile — worse, that it will call down the judgment of history that they were bigots.
Contrary to common perception, however, the public is not becoming markedly more favorable toward same-sex marriage.
Way to prognosticate, guys.
Ryan Sager comments:
You’re seeing panic on the part of the anti-gay-marriage forces because they realize this storm is coming. There have been a few factors at play:
* The slow and constant replacement of the old by the young
* The introduction of the idea of gay marriage as a concept in public debate (a huge hurdle at the beginning was how alien the entire concept was)
* The introduction to actual gay couples as marriages and civil unions happened and the world didn’t end
Add to this a growing sense that there’s a bandwagon forming… well, I don’t think there’s any way to quantitatively predict such things. And there are obviously a lot of people who will remain opposed out of a combination of religious belief and homophobia.
But I think the anti-marriage folks are right: A storm IS coming.
Now that it’s here (or at least very close), perhaps the most effective thing advocates of gay marriage can do is: declare victory.