Atlanta Gay Pride crowds showed jubilant optimism today over recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions and a lawsuit challenging Georgia's constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. But while half the United States might legalize same-sex marriage or make moves in that direction by 2020, Georgia won't be among them, according to Anthony Michael Kreis, a lawyer and a doctorate student in UGA’s School of Political and International Affairs.
"Public opinion is rapidly changing toward acceptance of gay marriage rights and more and more states are moving toward recognizing same-sex marriage," he said.
Recent polls suggest more people will be in favor of gay marriage than against it in 44 states within seven years, but in six southern states, a majority of the population will still oppose gay marriage, Kreis predicted. Besides Georgia, the holdout states will be Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and South Carolina.
"The legal and political landscapes are changing quickly, and more and more people support same-sex marriage," Kreis noted. "The shift is not just generational,” Kreis said. “There’s some truth to that, but part of it is actually people changing their mind.”
Still, there’s not much chance of gay marriage becoming legal in Georgia in the near future, Kreis said.
“In Georgia, you can be fired for being gay,” he said. “Is there room to work on that? Yes.”
PICTURED: An equality-minded young man watches as anti-gay activists set up their banners along the parade route