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Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies

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State-by-State Gay Marriage Acceptance

Hank Pellissier

Ethical Technology

September 14, 2010

How is gay marriage in America proceeding down the aisle?  This question concerns all transhumanists because persecution of homosexuality is an anti-Enlightenment human rights violation that is rooted in archaic religious superstition and anti-scientific thought.  Actively supporting gay marriage is the ethically responsible position for all progressive transhumanists.

image1Surprisingly, the grandest advance in homosexual matrimony in the last 60 days is not the California judicial dithering over Proposition 8.  No.  Peer south of the border, amigos, and you’ll see not Uno, but Dos Hispanic nations that have embraced same-sex marriage.

First, the Senate of Argentina ratified gay marriage by a vote 33-27 on July 15.  The proposal was spearheaded by President Cristina Fernandez and her husband, ex-President Nestor Kirchner, and opposed (predictably) by the Catholic Church, who condemned it as “a move by the father of lies [Satan] to confuse and deceive the children of God.” Buenos Aires already had civil unions; so did the village of Ushaia in Tierra del Fuego. The new law’s opponents are mounting only feeble resistance as the gauchos gallop towards a secular society, motivated by godfather Spain’s similar legislation in 2005.

I promised two miracles, so prepare for a shock if your virgin ears have not heard the news. On August 11, gay marriage was essentially ratified in… Mexico.  Blink again, and believe it.  The nation that exported machismo is swishing towards the altar.  Okay, right, Frieda Kahlo was openly bisexual, but… where’d this come from? 

Distrito Federal. Gay marriage was initiallly legalized in Mexico City by its progressive mayor Marcelo Ebrard (who is expected to run for El Presidente in 2012) and five months later the Supreme Court announced that Mexico City gay weddings must be recognized by all 31 Mexican states.  The Catholic Church (redundantly) had a hissy-fit, shrilling that the measure’s enactment was more horrible for Mexicans than the current drug war (25,000 dead and counting). 
The United States is now in the embarrassing position of being surrounded by two large nations - Mexico and Canada - that have more progressive gay rights than the red-white-and-blue citizenry.  This hypocritical stance for a populace that identifies itself with personal freedom will sharply intensify when additional Latin American nations ratify same-sex marriage: I predict this will happen in four more nations in the next four years: Uruguay, Ecuador, Colombia, and… BRAZIL - the samba queen herself, emerging superpower, “Kiss of the Spider Woman” country.

Is the USA future equally gay?  Indeed. Popular opinion is shifting inexorably towards an accepting view of same-sex marriage; everyone knows this, even Republicans.  Recent GOP heavyweights who have declared that gay marriage is either valid, or not worth fighting about, include Laura Bush, Dick Cheney, Glenn Beck, Elisabeth Hasselbeck, and Cindy and Meghan McCain.  Many Libertarian and “Tea Party” members are equally supportive of gay marriage, or at least indifferent.  So… who’s resisting? 

Religious folks.  Mormons, conservative Catholics, evangelical fundamentalists.  But they’re slowly getting outnumbered by their own voting children: a New York Times/CBS News poll revealed that 57% of the populace under 40 years old is supportive of gay marriage.

How fast are we changing?  My calculation is this: every year, gay marriage proponents gain an additional 1% of the electorate.  This is evidenced in California numbers: in March 2000, Proposition 22 wanted to amend the Family Code to say “only marriage between a man and a woman” would be recognized in the state. image3 The measure passed, 61.4% to 38.6%.  In November 2008, Proposition 8 also rejected gay marriage, but in a much closer election, 52.24% to 47.76%.  Elementary math reveals that gay marriage gained 9.16% more supporters in just 8.5 years.

Below I have calculated when same-sex weddings will achieve majority support throughout the land of liberty.  For 30 states, I’ve done this by adding 1% per year to the percentage that voted against a gay marriage ban, until the total reached 50.1%.  In the remaining states, I used either polling figures (that I often regard skeptically), and/or I calculate an acceptance date based on the behavior of neighboring states with a similar demographic.  If a state finds itself surrounded by either gay-marriage states (or nations), or by anti-gay marriage states, I accelerate or delay the process by two to four years, and I hurried slacker Mississippi along, alone in the end, with a five year nudge.  Justification for this equation is evident in New England, which adopted gay marriage in a daisy-chain fashion, and also in California, which was deeply impacted by Utah Mormons in Prop 8. 

My results are different than those arrived at by statistician Nate Silver of the New York TimesHis figures, I believe, are erroneous because he over-estimates the slide towards gay-friendliness at 2% annually, twice my prognosis.  Data explaining my analysis is referenced at the end.  If you disagree with me, let me know. Did I position your home-state correctly? I welcome all critiques and suggestions.

2004  Massachusetts
2008  Connecticut
2009  Vermont
2010  New Hampshire
          Washington D.C.
2011  New Jersey
2012  Oregon
          New York
          South Dakota
2013  Maryland
2014  Michigan
          Rhode Island
          New Mexico
2015  Arizona
2016  Ohio
2017  Hawaii
2019  Nevada
2020  Idaho
2021  Utah
2024  North Dakota
2025  Kansas
2028  Texas
2029  Arkansas
          West Virginia
          North Carolina
2030  Kentucky
2032  Louisiana
          South Carolina
2034  Alabama
2035  Mississippi

Gay marriage will arrive earlier if state courthouses deem it unconstitutional to do otherwise.  The above scenario should be viewed as a cautious prediction, based entirely on majority voting support.  My final forecast: the last states to concede to gay marriage were all members of the Confederacy that was reluctant to end African-American slavery.  This parallel will be repeatedly noted.

Alabama: 19% vote against gay marriage ban in 2006.  Neighboring influence accelerates it three years.
Alaska: 32% voted against marriage ban in 1998.  Canadian influence accelerates it two years.
Arizona: 44% vote against gay marriage ban in 2008.
Arkansas: 25% voted against marriage ban in 2004.
California: 48% vote against gay marriage ban in 2008.
Colorado: 44% vote against gay marriage ban in 2006.
Delaware: State legislature supports gay rights.
Florida: 38% vote against gay marriage ban in 2008.
Georgia: 24% voted against marriage ban in 2004.
Hawaii: 31% voted against marriage ban in 1998.
Idaho: 37% vote against gay marriage ban in 2006.
Illinois: 2005 poll shows only 31% support gay marriage, but half of Chicago.  Neighbors accelerate it four years.
Indiana: Conservative MidWest state finally follows neighbors.
Kansas: 30% vote against gay marriage ban in 2005.
Kentucky: 24% voted against marriage ban in 2004.
Louisiana: 22% voted against marriage ban in 2004.
Maine: Narrowly rejected gay marriage in 2009.
Maryland: Recent UCLA study says the state will gain 3.2 million annually via same-sex marriage.
Michigan: 41% voted against marriage ban in 2004.
Minnesota:  2010 poll says only 40% of state supports gay marriage, neighbors accelerate it three years
Mississippi: 14% voted against marriage ban in 2004.
Missouri: 29% voted against marriage ban in 2004.
Montana: 33% voted against marriage ban in 2004.  Canadian influence accelerates it one year.
Nebraska: 30% voted against marriage ban in 2000.
Nevada: 33% voted against marriage ban in 2002.
New Jersey: Poll says voters already support gay marriage by 6% margin.
New Mexico: Libertarian leaders; beats neighbor Arizona by one year.
New York:  2009 poll suggests that 47% support gay marriage.
North Carolina: 2009 poll showed only 21% support gay marriage.
North Dakota: 27% voted against marriage ban in 2004.  Neighboring influence accelerates it three years.
Ohio: 38% voted against marriage ban in 2004.
Oklahoma: 24% voted against gay marriage ban in 2004.
Oregon: 43% voted against gay marriage ban in 2004.
Pennsylvania: Conservative resistance, but the city of “brotherly love” spearheads change.
Rhode Island:  2009 poll says 43% oppose gay marriage in this Catholic state, but New England tolerance will accelerate it by 2 years.
South Carolina: 22% vote against gay marriage ban in 2006.  Neighbors accelerates it three years, religion delays it one.
South Dakota: 48% vote against gay marriage ban in 2006.  Neighbors delay it three years.
Tennessee: 19% vote against gay marriage ban in 2006. Neighbors accelerate three years.
Texas: 24% vote against gay marriage in 2005. Mexican and New Mexican influence accelerates it three years.
Utah: 34% voted against gay marriage ban in 2004.  Mormons add a year.
Virginia: 43% vote against gay marriage ban in 2006. 
Washington: Follows Oregon and Canada neighbors. Supported domestic partner referendum in 2009 by 7%.
West Virginia: Socially conservative state finally follows its neighbors.
Wisconsin: 41% vote against gay marriage ban in 2006. Neighbors Michigan and Iowa accelerate one year.
Wyoming: Still embarrassed by the murder of Matt Shepherd, the “Brokeback Mountain” state is also proud that it was the first state to give women the vote in 1869.

Hank Pellissier serves as IEET Managing Director and is an IEET Affiliate Scholar.


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