Hot-button issues that won't be with time

Retired Army Col. Grethe Cammermeyer, left, kisses longtime Retired Army Col. Grethe Cammermeyer, left, kisses longtime partner Diane Divelbess as they pose for photos after the two received their marriage license in Coupeville, Wash. Two retired military women who fought for the rights of gays in the military were among the hundreds , on Dec. 6, 2012. Photo Credit: AP

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Ellis Henican Newsday columnist Ellis Henican

Henican is a columnist for Newsday. He also is a political analyst at the Fox News Channel and ...

Things change.

Just when you least expect it. Even when you don't. One day without any warning, a fresh breeze blows in.

Don't believe me? Then how do you explain pot legalization and same-sex marriage?

The Supreme Court announced on Friday that the justices will consider two anti-gay-marriage laws: California's Proposition 8 and the federal Defense of Marriage Act. That's sent both sides into a frenzy, but here's the unexpected part: Whatever the justices rule, same-sex marriage has such momentum now, it simply can't be turned back.

Five years ago, even liberal politicians kept their distance. Now, all but the staunchest conservatives are pretty much resigned.

Time passed. Minds broadened. Things changed. Gallup now says 73 percent of young people are pro same-sex marriage.

Then, look at marijuana reform. Forty years into America's failed war on drugs, people finally noticed the failed part. First came decriminalization. Then came medical marijuana. Now Colorado and Washington have voted to treat weed like alcohol. And the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute just found its first majority -- 51 percent to 44 percent -- for outright legalization, including two-thirds of people under 30.

The debate may rage awhile. But the conclusion is no longer in doubt.

WHADDAYAMEAN

1. Pluto's not a planet?

2. The Earth is round?

3. You have to wear a seatbelt?

4. You can't smoke in bars?

5. We have a black president?ASKED AND UNANSWERED: All those scalpers selling $1,000 tickets to Wednesday's sold-out "12-12-12" Sandy benefit at Madison Square Garden, they'll be sharing their profits with superstorm victims in Long Beach and the Rockaways -- right? . . . Are neighbors really fighting that Rails-to-Trails conversion of the old LIRR/LIPA right of way between Wading River and Port Jeff Station? Do they understand it'll be a trail for joggers and bicyclists, not marauding motorcycle gangs? . . . Now that Southampton High is doing away with class rankings and awards like valedictorian and salutatorian, why not just eliminate grades altogether? Maybe give prizes for showing up? . . . After the big success of the "Ugly Sweater Pub Crawl" for cystic fibrosis, what other personal-humiliation charity stunts can the young pros at the Huntington and Melville chambers of commerce dream up? A " '70s Haircut 5K"? . . . Luck or divine intervention? What put a $1 million scratch-off ticket into the hands of Greenlawn plumber Tony Auriemma just as he was reconnecting heat and hot water for hundreds of Sandy vics? . . . When was the last boxing match nationally televised from LI? Anything since Frazier-Foreman 1976 at the Nassau Coliseum? Joe DeGuardia's Star Boxing reports Showtime will carry the Jan. 25 Demetrius Andrade-Freddy Hernandez welterweight-championship bout from The Paramount. Look for Huntington's undefeated Chris Algeri on the undercard.

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THE NEWS IN SONG: "They say we stand for nothing and there's no way we ever could": John Mayer, "Waiting on the World to Change," http://tinyurl.com/bigchng

LONG ISLANDER OF THE WEEK: DOTTIE HERMAN

Many LI businesses shut for weeks after superstorm Sandy. But Douglas Elliman CEO Dottie Herman led her real-estate company another way. Instead of waiting around for the storm-stalled housing market to revive, she and her brokers started asking, "Who do we know?" The long list included a helicopter company (four choppers), a trucking firm (five trucks) and lots of eager volunteers. They delivered Red Cross supplies to Long Beach, the Rockaways and other hard-hit areas. Meanwhile, selling agents got busy finding short-term rentals for the displaced. "Many of our offices sustained damage, some of our colleagues lost their homes," the Oyster Bay homeowner said. "But we really don't like just sitting around."

Email ellis@henican.com

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