Even as they voted for putting an anti-same-sex marriage amendment before the voters in a constitutional amendment, many legislators in North Carolina already knew public sentiment was shifting. Alas, led by right-wing Republicans, the amendment did go to the people, and passed.
In time, of course, it will come to be seen as an anachronism, probably after it does some damage to the states business recruitment and and its already wounded image.
Consider, as a sign of the times, the current shifting public opinion in Utah, a state dominated by the conservative Mormon church and by longstanding Republican politicians. There, a federal judge has struck down the states ban on same-sex marriage, and the issue now will go before a federal Court of Appeals in Denver.
But whether the law passes muster or not (and the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against some parts of the Defense of Marriage Act in June, giving hope to opponents of other anti-gay marriage laws), the change in public opinion cant be ignored.
Consider that in 2004, 54 percent of all Utah residents said they opposed any legal recognition of gay couples. Now the number is 29 percent.
Some 18 states and the District of Columbia now permit same-sex marriage, a number that is breathtaking considering where the issue used to be in terms of public division.
It would appear that more and more, Americans are believing that same-sex unions are no threat to conventional unions, that they pose little harm to individuals and that they are not going to bring down democracy as we know it.
One wonders when enlightenment will arrive at the N.C. General Assembly.