These historic steps toward tolerance aren't without caution flags. A poll released last week suggests all this might be happening too fast for the American public. The CNN-USA Today Gallup poll shows 48 percent of respondents say gay relations should be legal, down from 60 percent in early May.
Adding fuel to the fire, the Catholic Church declared same-sex marriages "go against natural moral law" and decreed that if a Catholic politician supported gay marriage, it would be "gravely immoral." The church also objected to the adoption of children by gays and lesbians.
President Bush stepped into the fray when he said, "I believe marriage is between a man and a woman." There's now momentum in the House of Representatives for amending the U.S. Constitution to ban gay marriage. Meanwhile, state courts in New Jersey and Massachusetts are considering cases that could legalize gay marriage.
Click the "Listen" link to hear how the recent momentum in the fight for gay rights is affecting public opinion in the U.S.
Michael Paulson, covers religion for the Boston Globe, reporting from the Minneapolis where today Episopalians vote on gay bishop
Susan Page, Washington Bureau Chief, USA Today newspaper
Alan Yang, lecturer at Columbia University, has tracked American attitudes about gays over the last 30 years
Jack Beatty, On Point News Analyst, senior editor at The Atlantic Monthly magazine
This program aired on August 4, 2003.