David Link makes a very important point here that bears underlining. Tuesday was a great day for gay rights everywhere but Maine:
We won voter approval of (1) domestic partnerships in Washington; (2) an anti-discrimination ordinance in Kalamazoo; (3) an openly gay city council president in Detroit; and (4) an openly lesbian mayoral candidate in Houston. That seems to say something about the state of anti-gay prejudice in this country.
I agree with David that public opinion is now decisively inclusive of gay people - on every issue but civil marriage. But even on that last issue, we are now essentially neck and neck in California and Maine, the last two states to have referendums on the matter, and we are over 50 percent in Washington state for domestic partnerships that are identical to civil marriage on a state level, but without the m-word.
The anti-gay forces are fighting on the last ground they can win.
On the military ban, on employment non-discrimination, on civil unions, the failure to act is not a function of public opinion. It's a function of the Democratic party's general wussiness. On marriage, the only lever that is now working against gay couples - scaring parents about kids - doesn't work in the courts or legislatures because it isn't an argument as such; it's a feeling. So these referendums are grueling and the playing field is against us. In every other respect, we have won or will win if we can get the DNC to stop treating us as lepers. All we need is civil marriage in one state for a generation and the war is over. They will fight a rearguard action to humiliate, browbeat and stigmatize those of us building our relationships and families. But that is all they can do.