For the first time in Gallup's tracking of the issue, a majority of Americans (53%) believe same-sex marriage should be recognized by the law as valid, with the same rights as traditional marriages. The increase since last year came exclusively among political independents and Democrats. Republicans' views did not change.
The relative speed with which gays and lesbians have achieved a general level of cultural equality and acceptance is not only stunning but a strong sign that the U.S. is populated by generally decent people who respect individual rights. At the time of the Stonewall riots and Boys in the Band, homosexuals were accorded virtually no respect either in courts of law or in courts of public opinion. Throughout the 1970s and '80s and even well into the '90s, when Bill Clinton signed the Defense of Marriage Act into law to forestall recognition of gay marriage, being openly gay or otherwise alternative in your sexuality carried significant risks in the workplace and on the streets.
That's largely changed, as underscored by Gallup's most recent findings. Change always comes too slow and too reluctantly for those who need it most, but I'm glad that my kids are growing up in a country where literal and figurative gay bashing are on the decline.