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We are the 15.8 Percent

January 2, 2013

Same-sex marriages began in Washington State on December 9, in Maine on December 29, and in Maryland yesterday, January 1. With that, 15.8 percent of the country’s population lives in jurisdictions that license same-sex marriages, breaking the previous record of 14.2 percent, set in 2008.

The first state to allow same-sex weddings was Massachusetts, in 2004. California joined the club, but only from June 16 to November 4, 2008, when voters adopted Proposition 8, ending same-sex marriage in that state. (My favorite Prop 8 slogan? – a t-shirt I saw in the Castro that said, “When do I get to vote on your marriage?”) During California’s brief flirtation with marriage equality, 14.2 percent of the country lived in one of the two states that licensed same-sex weddings.

The post-Prop 8 recovery began quickly. On November 12, 2008, Connecticut began to perform same-sex marriages. Iowa and Vermont followed in 2009, New Hampshire and Washington, D.C., in 2010, and New York in 2011. At the close of 2012, we were back up to 13.9 percent of the country living in marriage equality jurisdictions. Yesterday, Maryland became the tenth American jurisdiction to permit same-sex marriage, breaking the 2008 record and reaching the 15.8 percent mark.

I’ve commented that I don’t expect the Supreme Court to legalize same-sex marriage nationwide, at least not this year. But I do think it’s likely that at least one more state, and maybe several, will join the marriage equality club in 2013.

Happy New Year!

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