After marriage equality’s historic gains in 2013, with six states legalizing same-sex unions (from Illinois to Hawaii), many expected the movement to slow down this year. But following a court decision overturning Utah’s marriage ban in late December, the marriage issue has been on a hot streak throughout the country – with even red states like Oklahoma and Texas suddenly on the brink of equality.
Last November, Rolling Stone talked to LGBT rights advocates about their predictions for the future of equality, forecasting which states would be having the marriage discussion and when – but no one could have predicted things would be moving this quickly. Here are five reasons that same-sex marriage is taking America by storm:
1. The Supreme Court’s United States v. Windsor ruling was a watershed moment for marriage equality.
Last June, the Supreme Court made history, ruling that it was unconstitutional for the federal government to refuse benefits to same-sex couples who are married under state law. Although the court avoided making a sweeping judgment on the larger question of whether same-sex couples across the country have a constitutional right to marry, Marc Solomon, the national campaign director for Freedom to Marry, believes the decision set an important precedent for states on the issue. “The power of the Windsor decision is hard to overstate,” says Solomon. “The majority opinion eviscerated every argument for keeping same-sex couples out of marriage, and encouraged judges to look at marriage discrimination.”