New Jersey's senate voted down gay marriage less than a day before conservative Portugal's parliament gave it the thumbs-up, and that got Alex Balk thinking: What will it take for same-sex marriage to fly in the US? The answer, counterintuitive though it may seem: economic recovery. "Legislators are not willing to take a chance on equality while their constituents are more concerned about jobs and wages," Balk writes for The Awl.
The numbers to watch for: Unemployment around 6%, the Dow around 12,000, and the budget deficit at the level Felix Salmon of Reuters considers reasonable, which is 3% of GDP. "Basically, gays are screwed until the economy picks up again and we all feel so prosperous that we don't care whether or not two committed partners who happen to be of the same gender want the same benefits as everyone else," Balk explains. "It's unfortunate, but that's the way it is."