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Welcome changes of heart on marriage

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The Associated Press issued a memo earlier this month, saying that in published pieces, it's preferable to refer to Americans in same-sex marriages as "couples" or "partners," not "husbands" or "wifes." The media giant's memo didn't say why.

Yesterday, after fielding quite a bit of criticism, the AP changed its mind. "Regardless of sexual orientation, 'husband' or 'wife' is acceptable in all references to individuals in any legally recognized marriage," the AP's Stylebook now reads.

The media giant isn't the only one evolving on the issue. Former Utah governor and failed Republican presidential candidate Jon Huntsman published a piece yesterday -- in The American Conservative, no less -- making the case for marriage equality.

[C]onservatives should start to lead again and push their states to join the nine others that allow all their citizens to marry. I've been married for 29 years. My marriage has been the greatest joy of my life. There is nothing conservative about denying other Americans the ability to forge that same relationship with the person they love. [...]

The party of Lincoln should stand with our best tradition of equality and support full civil marriage for all Americans.

Huntsman added that this is "the right thing to do."

His piece was published the same day Washington Post's Jennifer Rubin, a prominent Republican pundit, ran a piece of her own reminding her party it's time the GOP realizes it's "lost" the debate.

The arc of history is starting to bend towards justice with increasing speed.

I imagine it'll be several more years before Republican leaders move towards the American mainstream on this issue in great numbers. But here's a detail to keep in mind: about a year ago at this time, the top tier of the Republican presidential field was eager to tell their party's primary/caucus voters that they not only oppose marriage equality, they also endorse an anti-gay constitutional amendment.

Care to guess whether we'll see an identical dynamic in advance of the 2016 race? I have a strong hunch 2012 was the last cycle of its kind, and the next Republican field will stick to "it's a state issue," while dodging questions about a constitutional amendment.