Not all same-sex marriage opponents kept out of the fray, though. And the state of one of the most prominent opponents helps show where the momentum is. The National Organization for Marriage, a major player in the fight against gay unions, spent tens of thousands of dollars on robocalls targeting socially liberal and openly gay Republicans running in 2014. But according to recently released documents, the organization is financially shaky. The group's 2013 tax filings show that, between its political and education arms, the nonprofit is nearly $1 million in debt, with donations down from the year before. And in its politically active nonprofit, just one donor accounted for more than half of all the organization's contributions—a whopping $2.2 million gift.
These aren't necessarily signs that the organization is doomed for failure, as HRC touted when the filings were made public last month. NOM President Brian Brown told National Journal that it isn't fair to think there's something wrong his organization for getting major donors. In a nonelection year, a politically active nonprofit like his understandably raises less money, he said, and they know they have gifts coming in that will make up for it in subsequent years.
"To have debt at the end of the year signifies that we've spent the money that we have in the fight," he said. "We are not in this fight to accrue some large bank account. We're in it because our donors trust us to spend the money on the fight. So what would be normal for us is to have a few hundred grand in debt."
"We spend a lot of money, and then we recoup it in the next year," he added. "Things even out."
Despite Brown's assurances that NOM is doing fine, Jeremy Koulish, a researcher for the Center on Nonprofits and Philanthropy at the Urban Institute, told National Journal that these are red flags for the organization—and its goal of keeping marriage defined as between one man and one woman.
"It's a risky business model," he said. "That would not be recommended. If they can guarantee they have some funding source coming in, that's good for them. But if I was looking at their balance sheet not knowing what they do, I would say this is a troubled organization."
Looking forward to 2015, Olson is confident that the momentum for gay-marriage legalization will only continue. Should the Supreme Court take up one of the pending same-sex marriage cases in Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Ohio, or Tennessee, he said, "that could change the environment dramatically."
Though he doesn't like to speculate about what the high court will do—"the justices have a way of surprising us"—Olson said he does think it will hear one of those cases, and deliver another June decision in favor of gay marriage.
"The time has come," he said. "There's no turning back, and it is an issue that is finally time to just accept the reality."