GAY MARRIAGE OREGON
In May 2004, Massachusetts became the first state to allow same-sex marriage. Six months later, with dire warnings about schoolchildren being forced to read “Heather Has Two Mommies” and threats of legalized polygamy, so-called “values voters” passed bans on same-sex marriage in 11 states and ushered George W. Bush to another four years in the White House. Fast-forward to 2014, and the cultural and legal landscape could hardly be more different. Today, 19 states and the District of Columbia allow same-sex marriage, and federal courts have struck down bans in 11 more states. The U.S. Supreme Court ordered the federal government to recognize same-sex marriages after ditching a central portion of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act last year, and 44 percent of Americans now live in states that allow same-sex marriage. After four same-sex couples filed suit Wednesday (May 21) challenging Montana’s ban on same-sex marriage, neighboring North Dakota is the only state that isn’t facing a challenge to its gay marriage ban — at least not yet. So what changed? The issue is far from settled — and some conservatives insist that it never will be — but pro-gay groups clearly have the momentum. Here’s why: More