After the monumental week the U.S. has had with major advancements towards marriage equality for same-sex couples, Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-Kansas) wants to rain on their parade. Shortly after the Supreme Court's rulings striking down a key part of DOMA and effectively ending Proposition 8, he announced his plan to introduce the Federal Marriage Amendment that would put a constitutional ban on gay marriage. Instead of fighting a losing battle, he should stop wasting other people's time and concede to the changing ideals of the U.S.
In order for Huelskamp's amendment to pass, the measure would have to pass in both the House and the Senate by a two-thirds majority, and then be ratified by three-fourths of the states.The last time a constitutional amendment was ratified was in 1992, in regards to congressional salaries. While constitutional amendments have been used previously to overrule Supreme Court decisions, it's highly unlikely any proposed amendment could garner support given the current state of politics, let alone this one in particular, because support for same-sex marriage is on the rise.
By August, about 30% of Americans will live in states where same-sex marriage is legal. Polling data from May revealed that 53% of Americans believe the law should recognize same-sex marriages, and according to Nate Silver of The New York Times, support is steadily increasing. Silver states, "The steadiness of the trend seems consistent with the idea that the shifts are partly generational, with younger Americans gradually replacing older ones in the electorate. However, some voters have also changed their opinion to favor same-sex marriage while fewer have done the reverse..." He goes into depth about using data to predict the willingness of the electorate to vote in favor of same-sex marriage, and says that by 2016 he believes voters in 32 states would be in support of it.
While conservative critiques of the court this week (for not obliging to public opinion) are a clear indicator that the country still has a lot of work left to do to gain universal support for same-sex marriage, the trends and data prove we are well on our way. William Saletan of Slate offered a poignant response to critiques only further emphasizing the changing nature of public support in favor of same-sex marriage, and the rulings this week are likely to invigorate further support.
With the Supreme Court ruling this was a battle for states to decide, and legislators in Huelskamp's own state who don't seem to support him, he has quite an uphill battle. Thirteen states have already legalized gay marriage and seven have legalized civil unions. Within the past six months, three GOP senators have come out in support of same-sex marriage, and two in the House. It doesn't appear that the math adds up for serious consideration of Huelskamp's amendment.
It's best Huelskamp kills his proposal now to focus his energy elsewhere before he wastes more taxpayer dollars on something going nowhere.