The Decade's Rise of Gay Marriage

"Entertainment has really had a lot to do with people becoming more comfortable with our issues," she said.

Sprigg maintained, however, that the entertainment industry and most mainstream news media are "pretty much sympathetic with the same sex marriage cause so it's remarkable that 54 percent of the population still resists that."

The Next 10 Years: National Gay Marriage Law or Will DOMA Stand?

Brown said he thinks the gay marriage debate will slide backwards in the next 10 years, with supporters reverting to push for civil unions and partnerships.

"The momentum is clearly on the side of protecting marriage," he said. "I think, politically, this is a disaster for the Democratic Party if it doesn't get its act together on this issue."

But age, more than almost anything else, make the biggest difference in opinion in the future, Cathcart said.

"We are so overwhelmingly winning among younger people and still overwhelmingly losing among older people," he said.

And when many of the final decisions on gay marriage at the state level rest with voters at referendum, it's the voice of the older people that generally wins out.

Shepard agreed and, at 57 years old, blamed her own generation.

"It wasn't part of our psyche and our world growing up," she said, noting that there are wide swaths of the country where people still believe all gays are pedophiles.

Added Cathcart, "there's still enough homophobia in this country that people still want their kids to be straight."

Cathcart said exit polling and research from the November 2008 ballot showed that if no one over the age of 65 had voted in Prop 8 last year, gay marriage would still be legal in California. And if no one over the age of 45 had voted, "we would have won by a landslide."

It's that trend, he said, that makes him optimistic for the future.

"At the end of [2019] I believe this is largely going to be a non issue," he said, and "that we're going to have equal marriage rights in a significant number of states."

Chrisler said she's looking for even more.

"I think in the next 10 years you will certainly see that state patchwork of strategy become very problematic," she said, "and there will have to be a national resolution."

That's something, Sprigg predicted, will never happen.

"The only way they would ever achieve that is through a U.S. Supreme Court decision and I don't see that as likely," he said, pointing to the Roe vs. Wade abortion ruling in 1974 that polarized the country instead of bringing a resolution. "I think they've learned a lesson from that and there will not be a Roe vs. Wade of same sex marriage."

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