Americans are profoundly divided over same-sex marriage. The regional divide was strikingly evident in the 2004 elections, where voters in twelve states approved referenda banning such unions, while in Vermont and Massachusetts, two states in which same-sex unions are recognized, the prorecognition factions increased their numbers. (Same-sex unions that are legally equivalent to marriage are also recognized in California and Connecticut.) Each side is now striving for total victory. Proponents of same-sex marriage want a judicial declaration, preferably by the United States Supreme Court, that same-sex marriage is constitutionally required. Opponents want a constitutional amendment banning any state from recognizing such marriage. Neither side is going to get its way any time in the foreseeable future. As the recent election results show, Americans bring radically differing values to this question in different parts of the country. We are going to be divided on this issue for a long time. What we need is a way to live together.

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