Here's a brief summary of events:
1996: Defense of Marriage Act is passed in anticipation of states soon legalizing gay marriage.
2003: Massachusetts court ruling finds gay marriage bans unconstitutional.
October 10, 2008: Connecticut court rules that banning same sex marriage is unconstitutional.
November 4, 2008: Proposition 8 passes. In addition, legislation to ban adoption by gay couples was passed in Arkansas and Florida and Arizona passed laws banning same sex marriage.
April 3, 2009: Gay marriage is made legal in Iowa with a court ruling that they cannot ban same sex couples from getting marriage certificates.
April 7, 2009: Vermont passes legislation that will allow for gay marriage to replace civil unions come September 1st, 2009.
May 6, 2009: Maine passes legislation that will allow for gay marriages to occur after September 14th, 2009.
New York recognize gay marriages, and New Hampshire and New Jersey
allow for civil unions (Connecticut and Vermont have in the past as well). Legislation for allowing gay marriage is pending in Rhode Island. Flip side: Proposition 8 is likely to remain upheld by the Supreme Court in California. And the decision in Maine is already meeting opposition, with a petition being signed in an attempt to get a referendum. Luckily, the story makes it sound as if the activists have learned their lesson of Proposition 8, and are just as willing to fight for the decision as its opponents are to fight against it. Which, brings me to my actual observation (which I believe is a point also made in the former of those two articles): the injustice that was the passage of Proposition 8 may have invigorated gay marriage proponents, as well as sympathy for the cause, more than if it had actually passed. This recent avalanche of legislation may actually owe its entire existence to Proposition 8, which illegalized gay marriage after it had already been legalized and invalidated marriages in the process. It has intensified the voice of those who had already supported them, and may have broadened support as well.
It is unclear whether we are seeing a trend that will continue, especially since most of the states that have turned within the past year or so were already rather gay-friendly, and it is unclear whether greater acceptance of homosexuality and the idea of same-sex marriage has been exclusive to locations that were already rather accepting of both, rather than being a full-nation phenomenon. But, as a word of caution, we should not only expect that this will be the last state legalizing gay marriage in the near future, but we should also expect that those who oppose gay marriage will be trying everything in their power to shift things back to the status quo. It's overly pessimistic, but we need to concentrate on keeping the ground that we have now made, and not allow ourselves to become overwhelmed by a sense of accomplishment for something that could be taken away so easily when in such a state of self-satisfied arrogance. The advances that we have made are only tentative if there are enough people out there with the means and the passion to undo it. Stay vigilant, and guard the reset buttons with all your might!
(For those of you who initially thought that this post would be about the spreading swine flu meance and some of the over-the-top reactions that people have about it....I am too ambivalent about the matter to really do such a thing. And, anyway, xkcd has done it for me.)