The greatest roadblock to marriage equality has been the ballot box. In less than two months, voters will determine the fate of marriage equality in Maine, Maryland, and Washington. Voters will also have their say on a state constitutional prohibition against same-sex marriages in Minnesota. For the first time, however, I have little doubt that all four of these states hold real potential to break the heart-wrenching losing streak that marriage equality has suffered in election after election.
At the same time, I see governors and legislators standing at the ready to do what is right, fair, and just. A handful of politicians in Delaware, Illinois, New Jersey, and Rhode Island are committed to pushing for marriage equality in 2013 and join states like New York, Vermont, and New Hampshire. But then there are the states that remain. The overwhelming majority of those states have constitutional bans on same-sex marriages. The few that do not, perhaps save Hawaii, lack any political will to join the right side of history.
If by 2013′s end, marriage equality is successful in every instance where it is promising, same-sex couples will enjoy the freedom to marry in 15 states, including California, plus the District of Columbia — a powerful jump from the seven jurisdictions that recognize marital rights for same-sex couples today.