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That is not the case with gay marriage. Not only have voters in 30 states now blocked gay marriage but 37 state legislatures have passed a Defense of Marriage Act to define marriage and clarify that they will not recognize out-of-state gay marriages and/or unions.

This is because Americans see significant and enduring differences between men and women - thus same-sex - and opposite-sex couples. Americans believe in inclusion, but with gays and marriage, they do not agree it has to be one size fits all.

Someday a gay marriage case will reach the Supreme Court. Until then, it’s likely that about half the country will create ways to offer legal rights to gay unions. But barring a change in California, only Connecticut and Massachusetts are likely to call it marriage.

Cheryl Wetzstein can be reached at