This year started out well for same-sex marriage. On Jan. 1, Maryland became the ninth state to recognize the marriages of gay and lesbian couples.
And it ended even better. Several votes and a smattering of court rulings later, the number of states is up to 17 (plus the District of Columbia). That means the majority of same-sex marriage states joined the roster this year.
New Mexico, which has been teetering on the edge of the issue for months — some jurisdictions allowed marriage licenses for gays and lesbians, others didn’t — became official Thursday, when the state Supreme Court said refusal to grant such licenses violated the equal protection clause of the state’s Constitution. Unlike with California’s
For those who complain that the legalization of same-sex marriage is the work of "activist" judges who don't represent the people, it's worth noting that of the 17 states, only six came to accept same-sex marriage because of court rulings. State legislatures passed eight of the laws, and voters the remaining three.
Of the nine added to the list in 2013, only a third were by court decision. One was by popular vote, and the remaining five were by state legislatures.
(Of course, it's worth noting that the system of checks and balances built into this nation's framework by the Founding Fathers relies on the courts to strike down laws that are unconstitutional.)
The next marriage battlegrounds are probably Ohio and West Virginia. In Ohio, supporters of gay marriage say they've collected enough signatures for a ballot measure that voters appear to like, though by a slim margin. Same-sex couples in West Virginia have challenged the state's anti-gay marriage law in court.
Maybe 2014 will be a great year for greater tolerance as well.