Any day now, the Supreme Court is expected to announce its verdict on whether states can ban same-sex marriages — in other words, a ruling that could make banning gay marriage illegal. The crux of Obergefell vs. Hodges, in which the justices heard arguments in April, is whether same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry. The other question at hand: If SCOTUS decides that same-sex marriage is protected under the Constitution, can states that ban same-sex marriage continue to refuse to recognize marriages performed in other states without bans? Whatever the court decides, it's clear that the popular opinion in favor of marriage equality continues to grow. A May 21 poll by The Wall Street Journal and NBC News found that support for same-sex marriage is at a record high, with 59 percent of Americans saying they support such unions.
That's almost twice as many people who said they supported gay marriage in a 2004 version of the poll, The Wall Street Journal reported. Interestingly, the poll also found that support for same-sex marriage has grown among Republicans, rising to 40 percent. The WSJ suggests the reason some of the GOP presidential candidates are more comfortable letting states decide on the issue, rather than including it under the purview of the federal government, is because they are beginning to realize the shift in attitudes toward same-sex marriage, even within their own party.
Actor George Clooney sums up how a lot of people feel about the issue, noting that future generations will look back and wonder what all the fuss was. Clooney told E's Ted Casablancas that change was coming, after California's controversial Proposition 8 was passed in 2008 (Prop 8 was overturned in 2013). Clooney or now Clooney, there are an ever-growing number of prominent figures who have eloquently voiced their support for marriage equality.
George Clooney: "It Won't Be An Issue"
Clooney told Casablancas: “At some point in our lifetime, gay marriage won't be an issue, and everyone who stood against this civil right will look as outdated as George Wallace standing on the school steps keeping James Hood from entering the University of Alabama because he was black.”
Judge John Jones: "We Are Better People Than What These Laws Represent"
When he and the other judges in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania overturned a ban on same-sex marriage in that state in 2014, Judge John E. Jones said the time had come. "We are better people than what these laws represent, and it is time to discard them into the ash heap of history."
Clint Eastwood: "Don't Give Me That Sanctity Crap"
Eastwood (a staunch Republican), told GQ magazine in 2011 in his usual cantankerous, colorful language that he didn't get why it was even an issue.
"These people who are making a big deal out of gay marriage? I don’t give a f*ck about who wants to get married to anybody else. We’re making a big deal out of things we shouldn’t be making a deal out of. They go on and on with all this bullshit about sanctity, don’t give me that sanctity crap. Just give everybody the chance to have the life they want."
Jon Stewart: "It's A Travesty"
When he had Republican Mike Huckabee on The Daily Show in 2008, Stewart basically shredded any argument against same-sex marriage. "It’s a travesty that people have forced someone who is gay to have to make their case that they deserve the same basic rights as someone else."
Tina Fey: "I Don't Know What People Are Scared Of"
Justin Timberlake: "I Was Stoked"
In 2011, Timberlake told The Advocate magazine how happy he was that New York had finally legalized same-sex marriage. "I was stoked. I mean, I was stoked that that happened. I think we're people and we're different, all of us. And we should be using our differences to bring ourselves closer together. It was a great, great victory for equality. I’m proud that New York has balls to stand up for what’s right."
Sean Penn: "Equal Rights For Everyone"
When he accepted the Best Actor Oscar in 2009 for his portrayal of gay rights activist Harvey Milk, Penn said it was time to think about how history would judge us. "I think that it is a good time for those who voted for the ban against gay marriage to sit and reflect and anticipate their great shame and the shame in their grandchildren's eyes if they continue that way of support. We've got to have equal rights for everyone."
Cynthia Nixon: "We Want ... The Same Responsibilities"
Will Smith: "I Support That In Any Shape Or Form"
Will Smith praised President Obama's support of gay marriage in 2012, and put it simply: "If anybody can find someone to love them and to help them through this difficult thing that we call life, I support that in any shape or form."
Ellen DeGeneres: "I Don't Think We Hurt Anyone Else's Marriage"
DeGeneres joked in 2013 that she and wife Portia de Rossi had been married for some time, and to her knowledge, it had not negatively affected anyone else. "I don’t think we hurt anyone else’s marriage. I asked all of my neighbors and they say they’re fine."
Shonda Rhimes: "It's Gotta Be Paid Forward"
The queen of television compared the battle for gay rights to the battles of the civil rights movement: "I think same-sex marriage is the civil rights fight of our era and back when being a person of color was the civil rights fight, people like Norman Lear put black people on TV and helped change some minds. So you know, it’s gotta be paid forward."
Drew Barrymore: "No One Has Any Right To Tell Anyone What Makes A Family"
And actress Drew Barrymore said at a rally in 2009 that she was an example of someone who had had positive gay role models and turned out just fine. "I am who I am because of the people who influenced me growing up, and many of them were gay. No one has any right to tell anyone what makes a family."