Marriage equality history was made yesterday in Maine and Maryland. For the first time ever the electorate in a state has voted to grant same-sex couples the right to get married instead of voting to take it away. A truly remarkable political and social transformation has occurred.
Eight years ago, putting same-sex marriage on the ballot was seen as a guaranteed loser that was only used to drive conservative turnout. Just four years ago even the top Democratic presidential candidates avoided endorsing marriage equality, because it was thought to be too big a political liability. It was only three years ago that the voters in Maine rejected marriage equality in a referendum vote of 52.75 percent to 47.25 percent. But yesterday, the voters of Maine affirmatively voted to give same-sex couples the right to marry.
In less than a decade marriage equality went from a cultural wedge issue used by Republicans to drive turnout to an idea supported by a majority of the electorate in several states. What was once nearly unthinkable is now reality. It will still be several years before all Americans will have marriage equality, but serious progress has been made in a remarkably short period of time. This victory is a powerful example that the politics around marriage equality have changed dramatically.
I would like to congratulate all the couples in Maine and Maryland who will be getting married in the coming months.
Photo by Ernst Vikne under Creative Commons license