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Let's Figure Out Which State is Next to Go For Marriage Equality

With Delaware being the most recent state to legalize marriage equality, it seems an apropos time for us to debate who's up next.

I'm going to start out by disqualifying California, for the simple reason that we'll have a yes/no answer on that in June (likely before any other state can make a call). Also, I think we can safely assume the answer's going to be yes there - we know how Sotomayor, Ginsburg, Breyer, and Kagan will vote, Kennedy's always been very pro-gay rights (it's really the one reason he's considered a swing justice), and it wouldn't actually shock me if Roberts voted with the liberals here. Regardless, we'll remove California from the discussion for now. So here are what I see as the potentials:

Minnesota (5 to 2) - Smart money's definitely on Minnesota - the voters' rejection of the constitutional amendment banning it last November was a sign, and since then there's been heavy lobbying in its favor. It makes sense to bring the fight to Minnesota; it's close enough to looking like a battleground that it's a statement, without really being anything close to an actual battleground (Minnesota is very reliably blue, and has two Democratic Senators). Consider this the favorite (although not the prohibitive favorite).


New Jersey (3 to 1) - New Jersey would actually have already legalized if it wasn't for Chris Christie blocking the bill, and would absolutely be at the top of this list if someone else was governor right now. Still, you can bet that marriage equality remains a high priority for the New Jersey state legislature, and considering Christie's national ambitions, it wouldn't shock me even slightly if he pivoted towards the center on this issue to broaden his appeal (and even if he didn't, they could probably override his veto) - especially considering the most recent poll put 62% of New Jerseyans in favor.

Hawaii (5 to 1) - It's somewhat mystifying that Hawaii hasn't already legalized marriage equality. I honestly can't figure out why this is the case; Hawaii's one of the most liberal states in the union. Anyone have any explanations here?

Oregon (5 to 1) - Pretty much a carbon copy of Hawaii as far as "why isn't it already legal?" I mean, this is Oregon, for fuck's sake - they elected Ron Wyden, probably the most liberal Senator in Congress.

New Mexico (7 to 1) - This is one of my two dark horse candidates (the second is two entries below this). The thing that people don't realize about New Mexico is that it's the ONLY state remaining on the entire board of the US that hasn't either a) legalized gay marriage, or b) banned it through constitutional amendment or state statute. Literally, it's the only gray on the board, as you can see on the map in this Wikipedia entry. It's also been reliably blue in the last several Presidential elections, and has two Democratic Senators. People forget about New Mexico, but don't be surprised if you hear it start surfacing in conversations about legalizing marriage equality.


Illinois (10 to 1) - Though Illinois' rural areas are far more red than . Moreover, it's telling that Mark Kirk recently became the second Republican Senator to support same-sex marriage. Illinois wouldn't surprise me at all.

Colorado (20 to 1) - The second of my dark horse candidates, Colorado's an interesting case. Ten years ago, this would've seemed absolutely insane to include Colorado on this list, but in the intervening years, what was once a very red state has veered sharply towards purple, going blue in the last two Presidential elections, electing two Democratic senators, and recently legalizing marijuana possession AND passing sweeping statewide gun control legislation. The times, they are a-changing in Colorado, and it wouldn't shock me if they surprised everyone by being the next domino to fall on gay marriage.


Nevada (50 to 1) - A state that's significantly more blue than people usually think, since the vast majority of Nevada's population is concentrated in the urban areas of Las Vegas, Reno, and Carson City. Still somewhat of a long shot, but it won't be that long for Nevada.

Michigan (50 to 1) - Michigan is reliably blue, and would seem an obvious choice, but there's absolutely no way Rick Snyder is going to approve any marriage equality bill, and I don't know if they have the votes to override him (which they might in the below case).


Wisconsin (250 to 1) - I find this option really fascinating. People keep saying Wisconsin's a Purple State rather than a blue one, but the last several elections have not borne that out. Wisconsin is one of the epicenters of the culture wars, true...but they also just elected the first openly gay Senator in Tammy Baldwin. Further, it might make sense to target Wisconsin as the next step in the marriage equality movement, as it'd be a hell of a coup to win in what's supposedly a battleground state (even if it really isn't). Further, though Scott Douchebag Walker is still in charge there, his term will be up in 2014, and if the Democrats field anyone even half-competent, he should be out on his ass. Even if he isn't, they might (as with New Jersey) get enough votes to override his veto. Wisconsin is a really interesting long shot in this.

Pennsylvania, Ohio, Virginia, Florida (1000 to 1) - All battleground/purple states, all very, VERY long shots on this score. I think all four will legalize gay marriage before we see the deep South do so, but it's extremely unlikely to happen right away. Of these, Virginia is the most likely, but Republican manipulations in the state legislature ensure that they'd fight harder than almost anywhere else for the most likely former member of the Confederacy to jump on this issue (plus, there's the fact that the DNC has shot itself in the foot by nominating Terry freaking McAuliffe for Governor, maybe the only guy on the planet who could actually lose to Ken Cuccinelli). Ohio has the best poll numbers of these states, but the Congressional gerrymandering in Ohio assures that it's unlikely to happen there. Pennsylvania is blue as hell in Pittsburgh and Philly, but everywhere else might as well be Alabama. And Florida is...well...Florida.


Feel free to share your thoughts, Groupthinkers; I want to know what states everyone thinks are up next.

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