Yesterday, the United States Supreme Court announced that it would be hearing two cases related to marriage equality: one involving the Defense of Marriage Act, and the other on California’s Proposition 8. So far, no one seems to know how the court will rule on the matters — help us, Nate Silver! Use your witchcraft to save us like you did before! — but according The Washington Post, they may have already won the fight for marriage equality. At least, if public opinion polls are any indication.
It doesn’t take a professional pollster to understand what the chart tells us. In 1996, as the country was easily re-electing Democratic President Bill Clinton, two-thirds of the public opposed gay marriage. Sixteen years later, as the country was re-electing Democratic President Barack Obama just 43 percent opposed it while 48 percent favored it.
Go deeper into the Pew numbers — and thanks to Pew, you can! — and you see why those trend lines won’t be reversing themselves. In 2011-2012, 62 percent of people 18-29 supported gay marriage — by far the strongest support among any age group. During that same time period, just 32 percent of those 65 or older supported gay marriage.
In regard to long-term trends, history has a tendency of gently easing away from superstitious nonsense and finally stopping on the side of fairness and logic. Eventually, even the most violently homophobic country will adopt marriage equality, so chances are federal marriage equality is something that will be coming to them soon. That being said, the court of public opinion isn’t normally a recognized branch of the judicial system (unless it’s on American Idol or some shit), so how this specific case turns out is anyone’s guess.