Staff editorial: Bright future for gay rights

An increasing amount of citizens have been clamoring for gay rights since the passage of Proposition 8 in 2008. Lately, it looks like their wish will finally come true.

On Monday, less than a dozen anti-gay protesters from the Westboro Baptist Church were met with profound contempt by hundreds of students and their supporters at Santa Monica High School.

The number of supporters, compared to the anti-gay protesters, reflects an increasing change in the attitude toward gay rights.

An internal Associated Press memo released two weeks ago said that “husband” or “wife,” in reference to same-sex couples, “may be used in AP content if those involved have regularly used those terms or in quotes attributed to them.”

Last week, the AP Stylebook's “husband, wife” entry was announced to read: “Regardless of sexual orientation, husband or wife is acceptable in all references to individuals in any legally recognized marriage.”

Considered the reference choice for newsrooms everywhere, the guidelines have influenced what readers consider to be the acceptable way to talk about sensitive social issues. The needed correction is a major breakthrough for gay rights on the print medium.

Nationally, a legal brief filed Friday by the Justice Department, asked the justices of the Supreme Court to strike down Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act, which bars recognition of same-sex marriages in the granting of federal benefits.

Dozens of prominent Republicans — including top advisers to the George W. Bush administration and Meg Whitman, who had supported Prop. 8 when she ran for California governor three years ago — signed a separate legal brief Monday, arguing that gay people have a constitutional right to marry.

With high hopes that the Obama administration steps up, society could be facing what the Constitution has been promising all along — equal rights.

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