Opinion
Reading Los Angeles: Join The Times' new book club
Opinion Top of the Ticket

Same-sex marriage is creating a new divide in the United States

Journalist and gay activist Dan Savage often writes about the urban archipelago -- the American cities that are comfortable, safe islands for gays and lesbians set amid a vast sea of countryside where being openly homosexual remains a chancy, even dangerous, proposition. However, after an election in which four more states approved same-sex marriage, perhaps that sea is receding.

In fact, the map of states that now allow men to marry men and women to marry women is beginning to resemble the now familiar chart of red and blue states. It is in New England, New York, Maryland, the upper Midwest and Washington state where either voters, legislators or the courts have approved the historic shift from marriage being just a boy-and-girl thing. Those are, of course, generally true-blue Democratic strongholds.

Other blue states are likely to follow. If Proposition 8, California’s ban on same-sex marriage, is overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court, the Golden State could be the next in line. A confederacy of gay-friendly states is taking shape. It will create a major divide in the United States, a divide that could last a long time, given that the red states -- places such as Alabama and Utah and South Carolina -- are about as likely to give up on "traditional marriage" as they are likely to turn all their churches into medical marijuana dispensaries. 

PHOTOS: Top of the Ticket cartoons

The turn toward approval of same-sex marriage in several regions of the country is so sudden and so unexpected that Americans have not really begun to ponder what the ramifications of this new national divide may be. Canada legalized same-sex marriage nationwide in 2005 and, thus far, straight marriages among Canadians have not been sundered and God has not brought down his wrath on the land of maple leaves and Mounties. But in the United States, a national law is not in the cards.

On this issue, states will continue to decide for themselves and take separate paths. So the question is, can a house divided against itself stand? Can a nation endure that is half slave to tradition and half free to marry?

Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times
Related Content
  • Billionaires wasted millions trying to buy the 2012 election
    Billionaires wasted millions trying to buy the 2012 election

    Never has so much money been spent in an American political campaign with so little effect. Billionaires, both anonymous and named, threw hundreds of millions of dollars into the presidential race and several Senate contests, but failed to elect a Republican president or bring about a GOP takeover...

  • Democrats had a better grasp of political reality in 2012
    Democrats had a better grasp of political reality in 2012

    As a candidate, Mitt Romney was his own worst enemy. He thought he could amass a majority saying things that would please the crowd in front of him and contradict himself with another crowd somewhere down the line without anyone taking notice. He thought he could offer vague platitudes about his...

  • How an app destroyed their streets: Readers count the Waze
    How an app destroyed their streets: Readers count the Waze

    For many drivers in Los Angeles, the app Waze is a godsend, providing real-time, crowdsourced traffic tips to motorists desperate for alternatives to congested thoroughfares and highways that, during rush hour, make a mockery of the word "freeway." But to some residents of the formerly quiet neighborhoods...

  • While we focus on candidates, we lose sight of threats to democracy
    While we focus on candidates, we lose sight of threats to democracy

    Over the past few days, the field of declared 2016 presidential candidates has picked up a few more names, each announcement quickly detailed and closely analyzed. Does getting bounced from her seat running Hewlett-Packard, and conducting a solitary and abysmal U.S. Senate campaign, make Carly...

  • Britain's election: A muddle across the pond
    Britain's election: A muddle across the pond

    Americans exasperated by the gridlock in Washington sometimes look enviously at Britain, where the parliamentary system combines executive and legislative duties and the prime minister almost always gets his or her way. Unlike a president who may face a Congress controlled by the other party —...

  • The USA Freedom Act: A smaller Big Brother
    The USA Freedom Act: A smaller Big Brother

    Last fall, Congress was on the verge of doing away with the most troubling invasion of privacy revealed by Edward Snowden: the National Security Agency's indiscriminate collection of the telephone records of millions of Americans. But then opponents cited the emergence of Islamic State as a reason...

Comments
Loading