In 2004, Missouri voters approved a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. Here's an interesting question: Would voters make the same decision in 2012?
Acceptance of gay marriage has increased at a rapid pace in recent years. Polls show that a majority of Americans now favor the idea. Last week, state lawmakers in New York rewrote the marriage law to make it gender-neutral.
Now, as we learned on a recent episode of Real Time With Bill Maher, Missouri is not New York. But would voters today be as eager as they were in 2004, when the constitutional amendment passed by an overwhelming margin, to deny same-sex couples the ability to marry?
Election forecaster Nate Silver has revisited a model he built in 2009 in which he aimed to predict the percentage of the vote that gay marriage-related ballot initiatives would receive in the 50 states and the District of Columbia. He bases his predictions on variables such as a state's liberal-conservative orientation and the median age of adults. (Young people tend to be much more open to the idea of allowing gay couples to marry.)
Silver's model thinks Missouri would ban same-sex marriage again if given the chance. This is not a surprising result, given that the constitutional amendment of 2004 passed with 71 percent of the vote.
But there's a sliver of hope for people who think that gay couples deserve more rights. Silver's model projects that if support for gay marriage continues to grow at an accelerated rate, a ballot measure that also banned civil unions would fail in Missouri.
Change will come more slowly to Kansas, one of 15 states that Silver thinks would ban gay marriage and civil unions if given the chance in 2012.