WASHINGTON - For years, American opinion on gay marriage has been shifting. Now Washington is tripping over itself trying to catch up.
In less than two weeks, seven senators - all from moderate or Republican-leaning states - have announced their support, just as the Supreme Court considered two landmark gay marriage cases. Even the Republican Party chairman, who opposes gay marriage, warned Republicans not to, in his words, "act like Old Testament heretics."
The senators' announcements reflect a profound political change: For the first time, lawmakers from traditionally conservative states are starting to feel it's safer to back gay marriage than to risk being the last to join the cause.
Support for gay marriage in the U.S. has jumped dramatically in recent decades. Most polling now shows a majority backing gay marriage.