(NEW YORK) — While Supreme Court watchers ponder how justices will come down in the debate over gay marriage, ABC’s George Will said Sunday on ABC News “This Week” it’s clear where public opinion is headed.
“There is something like an emerging consensus,” Will said, noting voters in three states recently endorsed same-sex marriage initiatives. “Quite literally, the opposition to gay marriage is dying. It’s old people.”
Democratic strategist James Carville agreed the 2012 election marked a “profound” shift on the controversial issue.
“Look in Salt Lake City, the 12 Apostles. The Mormon Church after the election says, well, ‘Maybe we’re going to change our position on homosexuality is a choice. You’re not born that way,’” he said. “I mean, the effects of an election reverberate all the way through society.”
On the table is a case challenging Proposition 8, the hot-button 2008 California ballot measure restricting marriage to opposite-sex couples. The Court will also hear a challenge to a provision of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which defines marriage as between a man and a woman.
New York Times columnist and Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman said the Court’s decision to take on gay marriage could have a major impact on upcoming elections.
“It’s actually a positive [for Democrats],” Krugman said. “This is a significant bloc of voters that will make a decision based on which party they see as being favorable to equal rights.”
But Republican strategist Mary Matalin said there are other issues at play.
“There are important constitutional, biological, theological, ontological questions relative to homosexual marriage, but people who live in the real world say the greatest threat to civil order is heterosexuals who don’t get married and are making babies,” Matalin said.
“That’s an epidemic in crisis proportions. That is irrefutably more problematic for our culture than homosexuals getting married,” she added.
Currently, gay marriage is legal in just nine states and in the District of Columbia — but polls suggest support is growing. A recent ABC News-Washington Post poll found 51 percent of Americans support gay marriage, while a recent Pew poll shows national support at 48 percent — up from 35 percent in 2001.
“To me, the consensus has already emerged on this issue,” said ABC News’ Matthew Dowd. “It’s just a question of … is the Supreme Court going to catch up and follow that wind of the pack, or get ahead of it or put a block in the path of it?”
Watch George Will’s comments here:
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Chris Isidore, CNN
Stephen Collinson, CNN
Nate Sunderland, EastIdahoNews.com