The consensus among college students regarding the legalization of gay marriage? It will happen -- it's just a matter of when.
According to the Chronicle of Higher Education, a new study released by the Higher Education Research Institute at UCLA indicated that even a significant portion of college students who describe themselves as far-right support same-sex marriage.
Twenty-four percent of the most conservative college students say that same-sex couples should have the right to legal marital status, according to the institute's most recent survey of freshmen, conducted last summer and fall. In the nation at large, 14 percent of conservative Republicans support gay marriage, according to a survey conducted last year by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life and the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press.
Over all, 65 percent of the college freshmen surveyed last fall supported same-sex marriage, compared with 58 percent of Americans 18 to 29 years old and 39 percent of the population nationwide, according to the Pew research groups' study.
Surveying the editorial sections of college papers nationwide, the study's results hold.
When Maine's proposal to legalize gay marriage was shot down last November, a columnist wrote in the University of Maine's newspaper that "the church triumphantly crucified Lady Justice last Tuesday."
The editorial board at the Daily Iowan praised Iowa democrats in January for downplaying gay marriage in order to avoid riling the state's elderly, conservative base.
If American courts simply heeded public opinion, the U.S. Supreme Court would not have struck down segregation in Brown v. Board of Education. The justices wouldn't have rejected anti-interracial marriage laws in Loving v. Virginia. And the Iowa Supreme Court wouldn't have unanimously ruled on the side of same-sex marriage last April.
And even at the Jesuit-run Georgetown University, a student columnist for the Georgetown Hoya called for arguments against same-sex marriage to recognize the "underlying legal justification for gay marriage."
But perhaps Jamie Stark, a writer at the University of Wisconsin's Daily Cardinal, put it best:
A conservative friend recently came out to me as a lover of human rights, claiming gay marriage was a "human rights issue." To me, this was a sign that our generation will make equality inevitable.
What do you think? How has your campus reacted to the prospect of gay marriage?