Maryland Is for Lovers.

According to a new poll from The Washington Post, folks in Maryland are warming to gay marriage:

Maryland residents are shifting toward a more positive opinion of same-sex marriage, with registered voters now narrowly supporting a law to allow it, a Washington Post poll has found.

A clear majority of people responding to the poll -- 55 percent -- also say that if gays get married in another state, those unions should be considered legal in Maryland; 38 percent say the state should not recognize them. Maryland Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler (D) in February told state agencies to begin granting married same-sex couples from elsewhere the same rights as Maryland's heterosexual couples.

The poll, conducted May 3-6, finds that 46 percent overall favor legal same-sex marriage, 44 percent oppose it, and 10 percent have no opinion. Among registered voters, 48 percent are in favor and 43 percent are opposed.

The opinion Gansler issued, which has been supported by Gov. Martin O'Malley, effectively legalized same-sex marriage in Maryland. That's because if you're a gay Maryland couple, you can get married just a few minutes away in Washington, D.C., then return home and have all the same rights as any married Maryland couple. Republican legislators have so far been unable to undo Gansler's decision, and most Maryland voters seem perfectly fine with it.

Eventually, there will probably be a Supreme Court decision mandating marriage equality -- it could happen in the next couple of years as a result of the Prop. 8 trial, in which closing arguments will be heard next month, or it could be a decade or two from now. But along the way, we'll probably see what we seem to be seeing in Maryland: a slow evolution, as more and more people decide that it's really not that big of a deal. You may have noticed that contrary to the predictions of some, Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Vermont have not become moral hellholes since same-sex marriage was legalized in each (Washington, D.C., was already a moral hellhole, but the coming of marriage equality doesn't seem to have changed that).

The people who live in or near those states are noticing, too. Much to the horror of culture warriors, the most common response of Americans to same-sex marriage will probably end up being, "Sure, whatever."

-- Paul Waldman

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