A majority of Americans now favor same sex-marriage -- 53 percent, according to a CBS News poll. But that’s not enough to make it the law of the land. It has to be favored by a majority of Americans who get to decide whether members of the same sex can marry one another -- that is, politicians. And this is where the generational lag on gay marriage comes into play.
Opinion: If Gay Marriage Is Too Controversial, You're Too Old
According to that poll, “[m]ost Americans under age 45 believe same-sex marriage should be legal, including 73 percent of those under 30. Americans between 45 and 64 are divided, while 52 percent of seniors do not think it should be legal.”
The U.S. Supreme Court, which is today hearing arguments on the constitutionality of Proposition 8, California's gay marriage ban, has an average age of 67 -- well into the senior range.
There is also a gay marriage bill pending in the Illinois House of Representatives, whose members are also quite a bit older than most Americans. Not all members list their ages, but two-thirds do, and they average a middle-aged 51.
If gay marriage fails to win approval from the Supreme Court or the General Assembly, it won’t be because the country and the state aren’t ready to change -- it will be because judges and politicians are too old to change.