America's Gay Paradox

Andrew Gelman reproduces a fascinating state-by-state analysis of recent shifts in support for marriage equality for gays and straights. What emerges is the fact that states that were already more supportive of gay equality have become more so much faster than those initially reluctant. So New York, already pretty tolerant a decade ago, has seen support for marriage rights increase by a whopping twenty points since. Oklahoma, which started out with one of the lowest levels of support in 1994 has shown only modest - a few points - increase since. We don't know why, but my sense is that it is about the number of openly gay people in these states. Once you reach a tipping point in understanding that gay people are not evil perverts who all live under a gooseberry bush somewhere in San Francisco, the logic of full equality sweeps all before it. It's like a dam breaking. But if gays in the anti-gay hinterland want that to change, they need to make the first move. Honesty and dialogue make equality inevitable.

The graph of different states is after the jump: