Two years in a row more than half of Americans have reported being in favor of same-sex marriage. That is a trend, and I shall celebrate it as such: Here’s how it breaks down:
This poll didn’t show the split by age, and that’s what I’m interested in. From my vantage point as a 24-year-old who has exclusively lived in Boston and Chicago, the rate of progress is excruciatingly slow. But, in the scope of American history, much less human history, the pace of public opinion is moving at warp speed.
I recently finished Travels in a Gay Nation, an excellent collection of essays and interviews from LGBTQ celebs like David Sedaris, George Takei and Barney Frank, plus pieces about average folks and their experiences growing up queer. Every piece by someone over 40 shared an awe and gratitude at the rate of change we’ve seen in the last ten years. David Sedaris wrote about the mindblowing joy of meeting a teenaged gay couple at a reading. They attended his event together, holding hands.
To me, holding hands is no big thing compared to marriage rights or legal protection, but to a gay man who came of age in the 80s, it’s a world of improvement.
Obviously, such luxuries are not afforded everywhere. Spend a few minutes on this chart from The Guardian:
Hover over each state to see specific rights and limitations for marriage, hospital visits, adoption, employment, housing, hate crimes and schools. You can see big trends by region (though mad props to Iowa, right?) plus really fascinating, minor differences in policy. For example, Massachusetts protects sexual orientation in schools, but not gender identity.
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