Fans of Hegel, take note: 59 percent of gay marriage opponents nevertheless believe that gay marriage is historically inevitable. According to a new Pew Research study published today, 72 percent of Americans polled, and 85 percent of gay marriage supporters, believe that gay marriage will be written into law — both figures being significantly more, but not that far off, from the number of citizens who don't want marriage equality ... but think it's coming anyway. To put this in context: 51 percent of all the Americans polled by Pew support legalizing gay marriage, approximately the same percentage as in a poll released last night by Bloomberg News. (Ten years ago, nationwide support for gay marriage was 46 percent.) Gay marriage may be inevitable, but for now it remains a divisive issue.
At the same time, gay marriage remains a suddenly pertinent one, given the anticipated Supreme Court opinion in United States v. Windsor and Hollingsworth v. Perry, concerning, respectively, the constitutionality of the federal-level Defense of Marriage Act and California's Proposition 8, both of which proscribe the legal recognition of gay couples. (The opinions for each case are scheduled to be announced before the end of June.) Given the infamous seclusion of the Supreme Court, particularly when deciding contentious and almost certainly historical cases — remember last year? — it's unlikely the Pew poll, or any other study, will sway a key Justice either way. But polls like these will certainly prime the environment in which the Court's decision will soon appear.