History on their side

Slowly but surely, gay rights are gaining wider acceptance

From this distance, the most widely publicized recent news in the struggle for gay equality is disappointing: the narrow Election Day vote in Maine to repeal that state’s new law giving same-sex couples the right to marry. Like Proposition 8 in California, the initiative profited from a cynically duplicitous campaign tying gay marriage to school indoctrination of children.

One of these days, voters will wake up to the falsity of that approach. History is on the side of gay equality, as other Election Day developments demonstrate.

In Washington state, voters approved a ballot measure signaling their endorsement of a new law granting gay and lesbian couples the same state-provided benefits heterosexual couples have. In Kalamazoo, Mich., voters declined to repeal a new ordinance barring discrimination based on sexual orientation in employment, housing and public accommodations. There’s a new openly gay mayor in Chapel Hill, N.C., and new openly gay city council members in Detroit and St. Petersburg, Fla.

Like other movements before this one, the gay-rights effort will always be a two-steps-forward-one-step-back process. That’s to be expected. But the evidence is everywhere visible that, slowly but surely, the heterosexual majority is becoming comfortable with the idea of gay marriage.