More polls are showing popular opinion shifting toward marriage equality. Public Policy Polling found majorities in Oregon (54%) and New Jersey (53%) and a near majority in Illinois (47%) support extending marriage to same-sex couples. In Illinois, 58% of people under 45 years old say yes to gay weddings. Meanwhile, Politico found 40% of Americans support letting gays and lesbians marry. Again, young people are leading the way.
From today's Politico survey: "A full 63 percent of 18-to-29-year-olds backed marriage...It dropped off to 36 percent support among both 30-to-44-year-olds and 45-to-59-year-olds. Only three in 10 seniors supported gay marriage."
Asked about such numbers and the Supreme Court's decision to hear two cases on marriage equality, journalist George Will broke it down like this: all the seniors brought up pre-gay rights are kicking the bucket.
"There is something like an emerging consensus," he said on ABC News' This Week. "Quite literally, the opposition to gay marriage is dying. It’s old people."
Watch video of Will summing it up AFTER THE JUMP.
As Americans in Washington state celebrate same-sex marriage and UK lawmakers work toward equality there, hundreds of thousands of LGBT people still live in fear, many of them in African nations like Malawi, where Tiwonge Chimbalanga (pictured, right) and then-husband Steven Monjeza were sentenced in 2010 to 14 years in prison for getting married.
A massive, global outcry and the intervention of UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon led late Malawian President Bingu wa Mutharika to pardon them.
Chimbalanga, no longer with Monjeza, is living as a woman in South Africa, and recently sat down with AFP for her first interview since her marriage started an international incident:
"I don't have any regrets, I didn't do anything wrong," Chimbalanga, who identifies as a transgender woman despite being tried as a gay man, told AFP.
...I had mixed feelings because on the one hand I felt it was a wonderful thing for me to do a normal, natural thing like getting married, whilst on the other hand it was very painful," said Chimbalanga.
"I was beaten in prison. During the trial the security guards ill-treated me. I was verbally abused and suffered all sorts of inhumane treatments, I have scars from the beatings. Yet I felt good that I was able to do what I wanted to do."
Chimbalanga says in Malawi there are two sets of human rights, one for the rich and one for the poor.
"I want everyone to have their human rights and freedom to choose what they want to be and the only way to achieve that is by coming out and claiming their rights," she said.
She also said she plans on marrying again in South Africa, "Even here in South Africa I want to get married and I am going to invite the reporters from Malawi to come and witness for themselves and to report the truth about it. I want the whole world to know because this is not the end."
Just a few days after British PM David Cameron said "I don't want gay people to be excluded from a great institution [of marriage]," 19 equalliy powerful, equally conservative politicians, including London Mayor Boris Johnson, Education Secretary Michael Gove and Foreign Office Minister Alistair Burt, who is an evangelical christian, joined Cameron in the fight for equality by forming a new coalition, "Freedom to Marry."
In a letter published in the Sunday Telegraph, the group wrote, "Marriage should be open to all, regardless of sexuality."
“We recognize that civil partnerships were an important step forward in giving legal recognition to same sex couples. But civil partnerships are not marriages, which express a particular and universally understood commitment," said the Tory leaders.
Nick Herbert, the openly gay former police minister who brought the group together, also penned his own op-ed today saying his party must learn from the American Republicans: alienating LGBT people and their allies brings nothing but electoral gloom.
As the Republicans found in the recent presidential elections, there is no mileage in alienating the new generation of voters or what is, even in the United States, a growing majority of public opinion. President Obama endorsed gay marriage and was re-elected. So, in London, was Boris Johnson.
Winning politicians who have built the broad base of voter support that is needed to gain office have got themselves on the right side of this argument. It is not gay marriage which will cost Conservatives votes: it is failing to win the common ground.
Cameron said the legislation will be introduced in 2013, meaning the England may see same-sex marriages by 2014.
This British Freedom to Marry movement comes after it was reported last September that Tories were meeting with leaders from the States' Freedom to Marry coalition.
It's a big wedding day for Washington State, where at 12:04 am Sarah and Emily Cofer became the state's first same-sex couple to be officially, legally tie the knot. Jesse Page and Brendan Taga soon followed at the King County Court House. Presiding Judge Mary Yu said she had seven such weddings scheduled between midnight and 7:30am.
"This is what courts are supposed to do, respond to the needs of our community," she told USA Today. Bailiff Takao Yamada added, "We'll sleep later."
The other two states that legalized marriage equality during November's election, Maine and Maryland, will allow same-sex couples to marry on December 29th and January 1, respectively.
[Images via Seattle PI]