When Canada's Supreme Court ruled last week that gay marriage is constitutional, it was a reminder that the U.S. is moving slower toward accepting a dramatic change in a centuries-old...

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When Canada’s Supreme Court ruled last week that gay marriage is constitutional, it was a reminder that the U.S. is moving slower toward accepting a dramatic change in a centuries-old institution.

The Canadian opinion could lead to legalization of same-sex marriages across Canada. If that happens, Canada will join Belgium and the Netherlands, which both have embraced a broader definition of marriage.

The Canadian court understands the fairness and equity issues involved. Gay and lesbian couples in committed relationships should be entitled to the same benefits and participation in a loved one’s critical health decisions, parental rights and decisions for funerals.

This editorial page supports gay marriage, but does so knowing many people are uncomfortable with the idea.

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The recent presidential election, along with unequivocally strong anti-gay-marriage votes in 11 states, shows the U.S. population is not ready for gay marriage. Not yet, anyway.

Polls show support for gay marriage is generational, with young people far more accepting. Over time, the broader public will accept a more-expansive definition of marriage.

The Canadian court was mindful its own ruling could be moving faster than public opinion. The court said the legal definition of marriage should change with public attitudes over time.

In the U.S., some leaders of the gay-rights movement are engaged in important soul-searching on gay marriage. They wonder if the issue moved too far too fast. Perhaps time would be better spent slowing down outright advocacy for gay marriage to give the public time to catch up and focus instead on educating people.

Canada’s court decision shows gay marriage is slowly making its way into acceptance in a few countries around the world. Americans may not be ready now, but they can’t help but notice as other countries become more accepting.