Marriage is all over the headlines these days. First, an anniversary: Earlier this week, Marcia Hams and Susan Shepherd celebrated ten years of legal marriage. In May 2004, after a years-long legal battle, they were the first and only people in line at City Hall in Cambridge, Massachusetts, ready to to receive a marriage license. At the time, they were worried that a protester would shoot them. Now, gay marriage is legal in 19 states, including the entire Northeast.
Court rulings in favor of same-sex marriage have been coming fast and furious. The latest state to jump on the gay-marriage bandwagon is Pennsylvania; on Tuesday, a judge once endorsed by Rick Santorum struck down the state's ban on same-sex unions. On Monday, another federal judge ruled Oregon's same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional.
The landscape has changed so quickly that some commentators are wondering whether the movement is "unstoppable." Americans are more and more likely to favor legalizing gay marriage: A poll released by Gallup today showed that nearly 8-in-10 young adults are in support. (By contrast, only 54 percent of young adults say they are "pro-choice.")
Moreover, the pace is accelerating. Mother Jones notes that "of the nearly two-dozen states that recognize some form of same-sex unions, more than half joined the pack in just the past two years."
Not all of the progress is happening in the liberal Northeast or on the West Coast. Could judges be outpacing social mores in places like the Midwest and the South? Courts in Idaho and Arkansas struck down gay-marriage bans, although no licenses are being issued. Plenty of people in these states still think homosexuality is immoral.
But even if conservatives still have trepidations about gay marriage, the notion of "traditional marriage" seems to be going out of vogue. Notre Dame recently refused to recognize a student club advocating for "traditional marriage."
Indiana Republicans seem poised for a scuffle over whether a "traditional marriage" plank should be included in their state platform.
It's perhaps fitting that in this historic week for same-sex marriage, our cultural representations of heterosexual wedded bliss continue to scrape the bottom of the proverbial barrel. A show called "I Wanna Marry Harry" debuted on Fox, where a gaggle of women vie for the hand of a man who claims to be Britain's rapscallion prince.
Except, of course, he's not. Instead, the show's "Prince Harry" is a British environmental consultant with a bad dye job, starring in "the most morally bankrupt reality show since the lawless years of the early aughts."