The headline news today is that the case for same-sex marriage - once a pipe-dream of a minority even within the gay community - is now a majority opinion in America. The shift remains one of the swiftest in social and political history. Look at this:
Compared with five years ago support for gay marriage has grown by 10 points among women, but by 18 points among men; it's now at parity. Support has grown by 17 points among Democrats, but also by 13 points among independents, to a clear majority, 58 percent, in the crucial political center. And it's 63 percent among moderates, up 21 points.
Support is up by a striking 23 points among white Catholics, often a swing group and one that's been ready, in many cases, to disregard church positions on political or social issues. But they have company: Fifty-seven percent of non-evangelical white Protestants now also support gay marriage, up 16 points from its level five years ago. Evangelicals, as noted, remain very broadly opposed. But even in their ranks, support for gay marriage is up by a double-digit margin.
I'm struck but not surprised by the huge swing among white Catholics. The one thing I can say as a gay Catholic is that my fellow Catholics have never felt hostile to me or my kind. I have experienced not one ugly incident or statement from my peers. Only the Pope and his acolytes wound and wound again in their misguided panic. But the Holy Spirit lives on - in the pews, if not in the Vatican.