Even a decade ago, Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich’s anti-gay marriage views wouldn’t have raised an eyebrow. Today, his $1000 donation in support of the anti-marriage equality bill Prop 8 is making front page news and has led to condemnation from dating site OKCupid, Mozilla users and Mozilla’s own board.
Throughout the past ten years, support for marriage equality has continually increased, with more people in favor of it now than ever before. Polls show that 59% of all voters are in favor of legalizing same sex marriages. And, that support comes from some surprising places. According to Freedom to Marry, 62% of Catholics say that they support same-sex marriage. 64% of self-identified Evangelical millennials favor giving same sex couples the ability to tie the knot.
With this support has come an increased access to marriage in states throughout the union. Massachusetts was the first state, back in 2004, to legalize marriage between same sex couples. Over the next several years, more joined. While most legalized these marriages through the courts, others have voted in equality through the legislature or through voter initiatives. At the current time 17 states offer legally recognized same sex marriages while three more offer marriage-like domestic partnerships.
The reasons behind the support are varied, and some can only be guessed at. The greater visibility of gays and lesbians in TV, movies and sports has certainly been a factor. More people are out of the closet; at this point, most people have at least one gay friend, which makes the marriage issue personal. And, the fact that Massachusetts hasn’t fallen into the ocean or suffered any other similar cataclysm in the past 10 years must help, as well. No matter what the reasons, the movement’s momentum is undeniable. Those of us alive today will be able to say that we saw a dramatic change that allowed more people than ever to commit to the one they love.