With all of the political excitement last night as I flipped through CNN, MSNBC, FOXNEWS, and my local CBS affiliate, I missed the news about Arizona rejecting it’s same-sex ban until this morning’s paper arrived. I find it highly encouraging to see that a state like Arizona has become the first state to reject a proposed amendment to ban same-sex marriage, though clearly the fight for social parity for homosexuals has some distance left to go. The ban has passed in Wisconsin, as was expected by most of us watching that movement, but I think we can expect more states to come around in the next decade or so, perhaps even repealing those amendments as the voting population ages and more voters grow comfortable with the prospect of equal rights for gays. I think some wise words posted on the FairWisconsin website foretell the future quite clearly:
When I saw a standing-room only crowd of Fair Wisconsin supporters sitting in a church basement in Wausau back in March, I knew we were making change.
When I saw an ironworker stop by our office to take literature back to his local labor union because they had taken a position against the amendment, I knew we were making change.
When I saw clergy in their collars in Appleton explaining why the teachings of Jesus compel them to speak out, I knew were making change.
When I saw business leaders move from expressing private concerns to issuing press releases, I knew we were making change.
We set a high bar for ourselves and met it. This changed our campaign but it also changed the way people view gay families and gay issues in this state.
Wisconsin is a changing state in an ever-changing nation. I have seen a trend across the nation wherever these “marriage bans” have passed. Exit polling consistently shows that younger voters are much more comfortable with the concept than older voters. In the Wisconsin case, nearly 70% or people under 30 voted NO on the amendment. Of those over 65, nearly 70% voted yes. So while we grimly accept the loss on the Wisconsin amendment as a temporary setback, let’s hope that Arizona heralds the wave of the future. Remember what I am always saying about “baby steps?”