On June 7, 2006, the Federal Marriage Amendment (FMA), which would constitutionally ban same-sex marriage, was rejected by the United States Senate. Of the 60 votes required to invoke the cloture motion, 49 senators voted for putting the amendment to vote and 48 voted against. It was only a few days later when I jumped aboard the big, silver bird and landed in Wilmington, North Carolina mid-June to visit my sister Felicity in this Southern town. Howdy y’all.

Knowing what her older brother is like, Felicity warned me to leave my political comments in Canada, and I did my best to do so. This was North Carolina, and I was under the impression that this state was almost homophobic enough to ban homo milk. After all, it probably wasn’t the best town to wear an anti-Bush t-shirt and rainbow sunglasses, so I decided to enjoy the sun, the beaches, and of course, the bikinis.

Since then, Election Day 2006 has come and gone, and so have the countless political ads that seem to make it onto my Canadian television. And to my shock, the FMA has been put on the back burner.

On the national stage, Senator Rick Santorum, the architect of the FMA, who previously compared homosexuality to bigamy, incest, and even bestiality, lost his seat to Bob Casey, who opposes any measures that prevent same-sex marriage. It seems there is a new trend in America. While most religious voters in the past tended to favour Republicans, a slice of them voted Democrat, and the Democrats have taken control of Congress for the first time in 12 years.

Sure, the decline in Republican votes was minimal, but that does not take away from the significance. Anti-marriage amendments were on the ballot in eight states and were approved in seven, but by far lower margins than in past years. For example, in November 2004, there were 11 anti-marriage amendments, and only two states were in opposition at 40 per cent or higher — Oregon, 43 per cent, and Michigan, 41 per cent. In November, 2006, five out of the eight states topped 40 per cent, showing a substantial increase in homosexual support.

At the same time, it is important to mention the Democrats picked up a lot more of the Catholic votes by putting up more conservative, even anti-abortion candidates. And yes, 27 states have now passed anti-marriage amendments to prevent same-sex marriage.

Nevertheless, it seems Catholic voters have abandoned their Republican leanings to some degree, as pro-lifers have lost ground in both the House and Congress. Even in North Carolina, a very religious state, openly gay legislator, Senator Julia Boseman, won re-election to a second term by defeating her opponent, Republican challenger Al Roseman, by a 25-point margin. The âeoeGod gapâe has narrowed, showing that many Americans are starting to take a more moderate stance on their religious views.

Time will tell if House Democratic Leader and future Speaker, Catholic Democrat Nancy Pelosi — who openly supports same-sex marriage — will be able to bring forward her homosexual rights agenda, but in the meantime, the power of the Pope is on a major decline in America.

A poll conducted in July by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life found that a majority of those asked believed the impact of religion is declining in the United States, continuing a trend that started in the late 1980s.

Many of our international neighbours have shown us through their voting that they do not follow their religion 100 per cent. They are becoming “Cafeteria Catholics” — people who pick and choose parts of their religion that they will follow based on their own personal beliefs, like Pelosi, a Catholic Democrat who supports same-sex marriage.

And as more and more Americans question their religion, including those who give it up, the God gap will continue to narrow, and in time, homosexuals in America will eventually have equal rights, and the Democratic seats will continue to grow.