Marriage Equality on the verge of victory, but has it “won”?

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The upcoming TIME Magazine covers pose the idea that Americans have already spoken and marriage equality is a moot point, to become the law of the land across this country. However, statistics might not deliver this optimism, even as we all hope the Supreme Court strikes down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and Proposition 8. 

The decision will go a long way to determining which direction the United States is heading, but according to Nate Silver, marriage equality in all 50 states – let alone American territories such as Puerto Rico – is still a ways off.

In a posting late last month, numbers and statistics guru Silver of The New York Times projected 44 states by 2020 will be in support of marriage equality. That’s a positive step, but it still doesn’t necessarily mean that today, same-sex marriage is coming. It’s not a guarantee, despite Silver’s predictions, and he’s rarely wrong.

“The steady increase in support is soon likely to outweigh all other factors,” he wrote. 

He admits, much like my feelings, that this is a generational issue. Youth are dramatically more likely to support marriage equality. A 2012 Politico opinion poll showed over 60 percent of young people supported marriage equality. But the elderly are a different story, showing that they remain stuck in their mold, unable to cast a vote in favor of all Americans.

I do agree with Silver that if the Supreme Court does overturn DOMA and Prop 8 it could spark a social revolution that could remedy a lot of uncertainty many Americans often have towards the LGBT community and marriage.

Silver says, “It’s also possible, of course, that the Supreme Court decision could somehow kick-start public support for same-sex marriage, causing it to accelerate faster, or that the recent spate of Democratic and Republican politicians coming out in favor of it could do so.”

Which brings us back to the TIME covers. While the trajectory might be there, Americans, in my view, have not spoken on marriage equality. In reality, they remain as divided as the overall political scene of the past decade. 

The covers, which show two couples, one male and one female respectively, kissing, is a frustration to me as Editor of an LGBT publication that strives to show the gay community as individuals and not sexualized beings. The “romantic” kisses on the covers, in my view, is an attempt to sensationalize and get people to the stands to purchase the magazine. Instead of showing couples’ with their children, they reverted to the stereotypes of the gay community: sex.

That will do more harm in the near future. It may be a positive on many levels: gay people on the cover of America’s most recognizable magazine; it could also lead to apathy from those who have been voicing their support for marriage equality. We still need all people to continue to push for marriage equality, now, tomorrow and most likely until 2020.

Remember, 6 southern states in Silver’s poll will not be in the majority for supporting marriage equality. There is still work to be done and while it is a small positive for TIME Magazine to feature gay couples, America has not yet decided. We still need to demonstrate and deliver strong messages to our lawmakers that all Americans, sexual orientation aside, deserve equal rights under our Constitution.

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