Chart of the Day

From Nate Silver at 538, but I found it at Big Steve’s, so he gets credit:

I know things have been changing, but just looking, I was really amazed at the pace of change in recent year– really pretty astounding (there’s surely a political science article in there).  There’s not actually a data point down in 1990 when I started college, but extrapolating, it’s clear that support was surely under 20%.   In contrast, the students I am teaching next week are entering college in a world where this is a 50-50 issue.  That’s one hell of a dramatic change in what is still is a pretty short period of time.  Back in my college days, talking about homosexuality was something hardly ever done without discomfort or mocking.  Now it’s just a regular part of social and political dialog.  When I was a student the idea that gays would get married would have struck me as absolutely crazy.  If I were entering college today, I’ve no doubt I’d be an ardent supporter.  Anyway, if I were an opponent of same sex marriage I’d find this graph very depressing.  There really is no doubt where this issue is going.

About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State

2 Responses to Chart of the Day

  1. LOUDelf says:

    The chart does show an interesting convergence of a few things which we already knew: One, the country has moved a bit to the left over the last 10-20 years, and two, the libertarian philosophy (reduce government involvement in private life) has also blossomed. These two movements are in agreement on the ends — government does not have the right to restrict marriage of two consenting adults.

    I’ve long had a solution that satisfies both sides to the debate: Separate church and state — Keep marriage a religious thing, and unions a legal thing. In order to be considered united, all people must fill out the proper paperwork. If people want to be married, they can set this up in any ceremony they want. Churches can accept/reject marriages as they see fit, but it does not prevent all people from getting the same government acceptance for tax and legal purposes.

    Personally, I always found same-sex relationships disgusting, but since I didn’t have to be in one, I felt they were just as acceptable as any other, so live and let live.

    • Steve Greene says:

      This is already the “liberal” position on the issue. Nobody expects churches to be forced to perform same-sex marriages if they don’t want to. “Marriage” as we know it is already a combined legal/religious institution. The minister/priest whatever serves as a representative of the state and signs the marriage license post ceremony. However, even if we changed the nomenclature and the government had “civil unions” and churches had “marriages” I’m pretty sure there’d still be huge opposition to government approving these “civil unions.” At this point, there’s not many who strongly oppose marriage, but support civil unions. Of course, the likelihood of this happening is close to 0.

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