Yesterday marked the second and final day of the U.S. Supreme Court hearings over two laws regarding the rights of same-sex couples. The first, a referendum barring same-sex marriage in California and the other called the Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA, which defines marriage as a “union between one man and one woman” and prevents the government from recognizing the official union of same-sex couples.

Contesters of DOMA, originally enacted in 1996, argue that by barring same-sex couples from the federal benefits and programs available to traditional couples, the government is imposing unconstitutional penalties and blatant discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. On the other side of the debate, advocates have defended the traditional definition of marriage under DOMA on the grounds that the bill upholds the religious foundations of the U.S. Constitution, and argue it’s repeal would threaten state’s sovereignty.

New York Times political statistician, Nate Silver, used an average of eight polls conducted by a variety of the most recent major news outlets and public opinion pollsters (from FOX News to CNN) to report a 51 percent majority in support of same-sex marriage – a stark contrast to 1996 opinion polls, which reported only 27 percent of Americans in support of gay marriage. This was followed by seven years of marginal growth in public approval, which crept slowly until 2011, when support finally started to outweigh opposition.

What Silver concludes (an arguably obvious conclusion) from public opinion data, is that this trend of growing public acceptance is not one caused by a sudden spike in public opinion following any one isolated event, but rather, a growing trend that signals a shift in the American consciousness; a long-term movement toward a more secular brand of politics that champions human dignity above any written political or religious ideology.

So what lawmakers who maintain opposition on the grounds of constitutional tradition neglect to acknowledge is that the foundations of this country are not rooted in anything long-standing, but rather in a democratic process that is messy by design; one that follows no template of history, but changes with the majority rule.

And though a 51 percent majority is not nearly as staggering as the 73 percent of Americans who once opposed same-sex unions in 1996, the dramatic shift itself is a is a larger indication that lawmakers have stubbornly remained in a state of mind-blowing obliviousness, fighting a fight that may only be winnable while Republican hardliners still hold majority in the House, but still ultimately stands to be overturned by a vibrant and vocal majority, buying time in a war in which futility is only rivaled by ignorance.

All we’re saying is that we hope the American consciousness becomes one that is shared by that of our legislature. Because though it seems clichéd to say, at the very core of these arguments surrounding same-sex marriage, there is a simple choice: to award each and every one of our fellow humans with dignity and respect or the choice to blatantly denounce the humanity of our neighbors on the other.