Join 3,551 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Gay Rights In The US, State By State
January 2, 2013 2:08 PM   Subscribe

The Guardian has published a compelling interactive graph about where the 50 United States stand on LGBT rights.
"Gay rights laws in America have evolved to allow — but in some cases ban — rights for gay, lesbian and transgender people on a range of issues, including marriage, hospital visitation, adoption, housing, employment and school bullying. The handling of gay rights issues vary by state and follow trends by region."
posted by ericb (55 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite

 
See Also. And.
posted by Navelgazer at 2:10 PM on January 2, 2013


PA is just shameful. We have to do better here, and soon.
posted by Drinky Die at 2:13 PM on January 2, 2013 [4 favorites]


Not as granular as the Guardian's infographic, but my friend Greg's marriage map is pretty spiffy. (I think the last time I promoted this link was one of my first ever comments here!)
posted by kmz at 2:14 PM on January 2, 2013 [3 favorites]


The times, they are a'changing.
Election 2012 Showed A Social Sea Change On Gay Marriage.

Election Shows Country Is Changing, Gay Marriage Advocates Say.
posted by ericb at 2:20 PM on January 2, 2013


Go new england, happy couples in sensible wool flannels holding hands in an apple orchard, forever.
posted by The Whelk at 2:22 PM on January 2, 2013 [18 favorites]


Oh, Texas. :(

Recently, a judge ruled that all no funding need go to Planned Parenthood as well.

Someone in another thread said something along the lines of, "It's time to move to a state I don't have to defend anymore, one that shares my values", and I'm starting to agree.

Maybe I'll try Austin for a while first.
posted by Malice at 2:28 PM on January 2, 2013


Oh, Hawaii, we could have been the first to have same sex marriage, but instead we let Mike Gabbard get a bunch of us riled up and we chose, as a state, to be stupid instead. Let's do better, people.
posted by Joey Michaels at 2:28 PM on January 2, 2013


Maine's governor may be an absolute clown, but I'm pretty proud of what we've done for marriage equality.

Someday, the bigots are going to find themselves outnumbered and squeezed out.
posted by dunkadunc at 2:29 PM on January 2, 2013 [2 favorites]


That was a nice visualization of an important topic. Usually geographic data is best displayed on a regular map, but in this case the wheel design made it easier to see the multiple layers of data. Well done!
posted by Triplanetary at 2:29 PM on January 2, 2013 [3 favorites]


Can someone explain to me how Iowa manages to be so cool?

This is a serious question.
posted by phunniemee at 2:39 PM on January 2, 2013 [3 favorites]


Iowa City.

(That's actually a serious answer from a grew up on the other side of the Mississippi native but there's more to it than that that an actual local can probably give.)
posted by MCMikeNamara at 2:41 PM on January 2, 2013


Does anyone know why Pennsylvania, of all places, has such backward laws? I thought a state founded by Quakers would be more embracing of all lifestyles.
posted by Pallas Athena at 2:42 PM on January 2, 2013


Go new england, happy couples in sensible wool flannels holding hands in an apple orchard, forever.

Just one more New England state to go in allowing 'same-sex marriage.'
Marriage Equality Being Introduced In Rhode Island Tomorrow
Legislation allowing gay couples to marry in Rhode Island will be introduced on Thursday, the bill's longtime sponsor, state Rep. Arthur Handy, said Tuesday, the opening day of the 2013 General Assembly session.

Handy, a Cranston Democrat, said the bill is already drafted, but that he needs Wednesday's second legislative day to gather signatures from co-sponsors, who will include openly gay House Speaker Gordon D. Fox, D-Providence.

A key point of debate will be how the bill addresses concerns from religious groups.

Handy has said that the legislation will include, as it has in past versions, language granting religious groups protections, if they object to same sex unions as a matter of their religious beliefs.
posted by ericb at 2:43 PM on January 2, 2013


I said last year that North Carolina could be the first state in the country to affirm via popular vote that it respected the rights of gay people to marry, or be the last state to affirm that it didn't.

Unfortunately, history has recorded us on the wrong side of the tracks.
posted by Golfhaus at 2:43 PM on January 2, 2013


Does anyone know why Pennsylvania, of all places, has such backward laws? I thought a state founded by Quakers would be more embracing of all lifestyles.


Philadelphia and Pittsburgh can't overcome the 300 miles of Alabama that separate them. By population the whole state leans liberal, but when you divide things into geographic districts, there's a lot of hard-right territory.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 2:45 PM on January 2, 2013 [6 favorites]


The lack of a red ring for CA sticks out like a sore thumb. Especially when you scale by state. Not long now though.
posted by Talez at 2:45 PM on January 2, 2013 [4 favorites]


I'm proud to say that the tiny northeastern community where I went to college was the first municipality in our state to outlaw housing discrimination based on sexual orientation... in the mid-70s. The village even elected an openly gay mayor with virtually no controversy. It was a great place to go to school.

Yep, New England is the place to be, no doubt about it. And don't forget the great seafood and maple syrup to boot. (A Sorel boot, of course.)
posted by kinnakeet at 2:46 PM on January 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


Philadelphia and Pittsburgh can't overcome the 300 miles of Alabama that separate them. By population the whole state leans liberal, but when you divide things into geographic districts, there's a lot of hard-right territory.

You can win 50.7% of the vote but only 38.4% of the seats. Can I suggest a new state slogan?

Pennsylvania: We Good Math.
posted by Talez at 2:49 PM on January 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


Also ... don't forget the baked bean-hole beans!
posted by ericb at 2:49 PM on January 2, 2013


In the grim future of the New England Hegemony we're all forced to be married to our L.L BeAn boyfriend while wearing boat shoes and forced to endure cruel day long hikes up sheer granite cliffs.
posted by The Whelk at 2:57 PM on January 2, 2013 [3 favorites]


But at least there's chowda.
posted by Talez at 2:59 PM on January 2, 2013


Be sure to click the Scale States by Population button. I missed it the first time I look at it and it was interesting -- in both good and bad ways.

phunniemee: To more seriously answer your question (because I'm killing time to meet with somebody when they get out of their meeting at 5:00), Iowa was selected as a state to target by gay marriage proponents because it is (relatively) harder to amend the state constitution, so to get gay marriage passed "only" required a decision from the state Supreme Court that limiting marriage to opposite sex couples violated the equal protection clause of the Iowa Constitution (Varnum v. Brien) and after that happened, because of the (relative) difficulty in amending the constitution, it had a better chance of sticking around.

And though that has been true, the justices which decided for the plaintiffs in that case (unanimously, I might add) have been systematically targeted by anti-marriage groups to punish them for their decision, which worked for the first three but not in the most recent election.

So long story short, it's not necessarily about Iowa being more super liberal than their neighbors and more about them being (a) liberal enough, (b) gay marriage supporters playing the cards right , and (c) judges making decisions like they should (not necessarily based on the majority's opinion)
posted by MCMikeNamara at 3:04 PM on January 2, 2013 [3 favorites]


I live in WA...and damned proud of it!
posted by leftcoastbob at 3:06 PM on January 2, 2013 [4 favorites]


Often noted, and worth eyeballing if you've never done so, the similarities between maps like Greg's showing same-sex marriage /domestic partnership laws and maps of interracial marriage/miscegenation laws.
posted by DrMew at 3:13 PM on January 2, 2013 [2 favorites]


Maybe I'll try Austin for a while first.
You'll come for the Austin. You'll stay because THE GODDAMN TRAFFIC WON'T LET YOU LEAVE.

Also, Texas is HUGE. If you can't find someone that shares your values SOMEwhere between the Sabine River and El Paso, why, I'll eat my hat.

Also, Annise Parker. Take that you other metropoli, you!
posted by PapaLobo at 3:17 PM on January 2, 2013


I can't decide if I want Maryland to be properly classified as part of the Southeast to bump the curve for the homeland of half of my family (the Mason-Dixon Line is our Northern border, after all), or to stay where it is to shame the Southeast for being a geographical and sociopolitical dick.
posted by sonascope at 3:19 PM on January 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


Often noted, and worth eyeballing if you've never done so, the similarities between maps like Greg's showing same-sex marriage /domestic partnership laws and maps of interracial marriage/miscegenation laws.

Spoiler alert: your prejudices about your fellow states aren't going to go away clicking that link.

Related: I was actually relieved that no states, after going through the trouble of banning gay marriage by amending their constitution, haven't actually written laws that ban hospital visitation by same-sex partners. I guess part of me knew I would have been aware of something so horrible, but then sometimes when I know I should scoop out the litter box, I don't look in that direction because shit you don't notice is shit you don't have to deal with, so I was worried that some state had snuck some bullshit in.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 3:23 PM on January 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


Maryland is the Most Southern Northern State and the Most Northern Southern State, one of those spooky transitional zones, a liminal state, dominated by evolution's scrappy opportunists.
posted by The Whelk at 3:25 PM on January 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


Super post... and the vote for marriage equality in Illinois may happen as early as next Monday or Tuesday. Debate starts in the state Senate tonight.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 3:25 PM on January 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


MCMikeNamara, I believe the president's Executive Order following Lisa Pond's death would override any hospital visitation laws the state could write.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 3:28 PM on January 2, 2013


c'mon PA, step it up. We've got our eye on you to, Delaware. </masshole
posted by es_de_bah at 3:49 PM on January 2, 2013


On a serious note, I remember where I was when I heard MA legalized gay marriage in MA.

I was working at a Dunkin Donuts in Hadley MA which was managed by gay Guatemalan fellow, named Estuardo, and staffed 75% by friends he'd met at night clubs. Honestly: mostly gay South American nationals. The one with the best English once told me that one time the regional Dunkin's chief came in to audit the store and gave Estuardo a mountain of shit for blasting house music instead of "more appropriate program music."

That summer, a handful of countries in South America and elsewhere followed MA's example and legalized gay marriage. I'd never been prouder of my state.
posted by es_de_bah at 4:03 PM on January 2, 2013 [2 favorites]


There's also this illuminating chart of support for same-sex marriage, state-by-state, broken down by age cohort. (Two related charts: marriage vs. civil unions by state, and explicit support over time by state.) I think it's a good bet that the next few states to switch are easy to deduce from those lists. By 2015, CO, OR, HI, NJ, NV and NM are likely to be feeling serious tipping-point pressure.

I do, however, think the results also point to a serious red state/blue state divide that will become entrenched, possibly even with retrograde legislation in some of the nuttier tea-party venues. I don't necessarily expect a federal DOMA strike-down, so the states will continue to control this for some time yet.
posted by dhartung at 4:24 PM on January 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


es_de_bah: "The one with the best English once told me that one time the regional Dunkin's chief came in to audit the store and gave Estuardo a mountain of shit for blasting house music instead of "more appropriate program music.""

I'm not normally a fan of Dunkin Donuts, but a DD that blasts house music sounds kind of awesome.
posted by dunkadunc at 4:27 PM on January 2, 2013 [2 favorites]


Re: PA, attributed to James Carville:

"Between Paoli and Penn Hills, Pennsylvania is Alabama without the blacks. They didn't film 'The Deerhunter' there for nothing -- the state has the second-highest concentration of NRA members, behind Texas."

aka... Pennslytucky
posted by daninnj at 4:32 PM on January 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm from Louisiana, but I currently live in Washington, so I've gone from the one of the worst to one of the best.
posted by A Bad Catholic at 4:49 PM on January 2, 2013


Uh yeah, loooooooong way to go NC. Bah.
posted by yoga at 5:23 PM on January 2, 2013


Super post... and the vote for marriage equality in Illinois may happen as early as next Monday or Tuesday. Debate starts in the state Senate tonight.

Man... if that happens... It doesn't seem like that long ago that gay marriage in Illinois was the one guy in the legislature plugging away on civil unions. It was almost unreal when I was tracking down my birth certificate and came across some form asking for 'Parent One' and 'Parent Two' or some similar language.
posted by hoyland at 5:31 PM on January 2, 2013


Does anyone know why Pennsylvania, of all places, has such backward laws? I thought a state founded by Quakers would be more embracing of all lifestyles.

The early Quakers were funny. They were pacifists, and some were abolitionists, and they were fairly progressive for their day on women's rights. But they were also in a lot of ways deeply socially conservative — after all, they came out of the same era in church history that gave us the Puritans and the Mennonites. In fact, if you want to imagine what the early settlers of Pennsylvania were like, thinking of Mennonites will get you closer than you'd get by thinking about the modern big-city blue-state NPR-listenin' pot-smokin' gay-marryin' Quaker stereotype.

(In fact, even today there are deeply politically and theologically conservative Quaker meetings alongside the liberal ones. They tend to be in smaller towns, and less politically active, so they're not the first thing that comes to mind for most people when they hear "Quaker." But there's loads of them out there.)
posted by and so but then, we at 5:37 PM on January 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


You don't have to venture far out the the cities in PA to land right in the middle of Wing-nut Territory. This ass-hat's district is only commuting distance from Pittsburgh:
Metcalfe is the House's most prominent critic of gays: He opposed Philly's program to market the city to gay tourists, saying that tax dollars should not be used to "promote immoral behaviors"; he tried to cut state funding to universities such as Temple because they offer domestic-partner benefits; he sued a gay New Hope couple for attempting (and failing) to get a marriage license; and he opposed Domestic Violence Awareness Month, calling it part of "the homosexual agenda" to support a "sinful lifestyle" because it recognized male victims of rape.
posted by octothorpe at 5:48 PM on January 2, 2013 [2 favorites]


Jesus Ohio. I know you're my adoptive state but still, I'm kind of disgusted.
posted by six-or-six-thirty at 6:05 PM on January 2, 2013


I can't wait until California gets gay marriage again. Except I get to wait...all year, I guess. Feh.

Shame on those states, man.
posted by jenfullmoon at 6:07 PM on January 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


Hospital Visits? That's crazy. Sigh.
posted by ovvl at 6:08 PM on January 2, 2013


and so but then, we: " In fact, if you want to imagine what the early settlers of Pennsylvania were like, thinking of Mennonites will get you closer than you'd get by thinking about the modern big-city blue-state NPR-listenin' pot-smokin' gay-marryin' Quaker stereotype."

After my experiences of Quakers and Unitarians, I'm a bit leery of 'liberal religion'. Being pacifist and LGBT-friendly is a nice start, but in other aspects I find them to be quite conservative.
posted by dunkadunc at 6:35 PM on January 2, 2013


Someone in another thread said something along the lines of, "It's time to move to a state I don't have to defend anymore, one that shares my values", and I'm starting to agree.

I would love to do this, but I'm pretty poor and I don't know if it will ever be a realistic goal for me. If you compare them, a lot of states with really horrible track records for LGB/T rights are also states with significant poverty issues (kinda old, but I like the visualization). I don't think this is a coincidence. I've seen so many people who seem to think that bigotry is just part of the culture of the southern US; that turns issues like poverty and an absence of GLB/T rights into unsolvable, unmovable issues and it's just such a stupid and wrong and arrogant attitude.

We can make things better. In my lifetime, Texas has gotten better on GLB issues. It's only a matter of time before the whole thing tips over and support becomes official. I believe that would happen so much faster if we also worked on making a society with safety nets and social services, instead of charging blindly over the hill in the opposite direction.
posted by byanyothername at 7:19 PM on January 2, 2013


Also, this graph rocks and will be something I share with friends a lot. Thanks, ericb!
posted by byanyothername at 7:20 PM on January 2, 2013


I would love to do this, but I'm pretty poor and I don't know if it will ever be a realistic goal for me.

I hear this a lot in general but don't quite see how it's such a risky prospect that people stay put in the same spot they aren't happy with for decades on end. So far I've only been able to reason that many feel more anchored to their current coordinates than they actually are. If you're already poor in place X that sucks, why not go be poor in place Y?

It's potentially difficult to find a job and start from scratch, but it's not like we need to trek mountains and ford rivers in covered wagons and lose next of kin to dysentery to relocate someplace nicer anymore.

I might not know what I'm talking about. It's OK to pawn your shit, leave offspring at an orphanage and hop a greyhound, right?
posted by floam at 8:49 PM on January 2, 2013


If you're already poor in place X that sucks, why not go be poor in place Y?

There are lots of factors, often compounded and interacting with each other: geographic isolation, systemic/generational poverty, an absence or severe dearth of economic opportunities (it's not just a matter of arranging the cost of going to college--which itself can be pretty limiting--when there aren't any colleges anywhere near you), cost of living versus income, a lack of social services or community support, the actual cost of relocation itself, the cost of transportation if you need to go to school or work in another city to get where you want to go in the long-term, the risk of leaving for another place and...what? You need to secure something in the way of housing, employment, etc. first, ehhhn...probably a whole bunch more that I'm just not able to think of off hand. I mean, this is assuming you don't have anything like family or children tying you to a particular place.

Really, moving is genuinely difficult for many, many people in the US. I see people suggesting that the solution to crappy treatment of LGB/T people is to "just move!" all the time and it makes a little twitchy thing inside me twitch. Basically this is sometimes asking people to cut the already thin threads holding them up. I really think there's kind of this upper-middle class bubble in places on the internet where eloquent (English speaking, generally American) people gravitate to discuss intelligent stuff. A lot of people just don't realize how difficult it can be to get by in the US. I'm not truly poor, and much of my family certainly occupies a higher class sphere, but I live in an area pretty blighted by poverty and many people have it rough, don't know they have it rough, and don't know that others elsewhere don't have it so rough. It's pretty rough; I really think improving our society overall would do wonders for improving acceptance of GLB/T people and legislation of LGB/T rights.

Moving is not a solution to poor human rights, anyway. If every decent minded person just bails, that leaves the overall region that much worse off.
posted by byanyothername at 9:18 PM on January 2, 2013 [4 favorites]


Can someone explain to me how Iowa manages to be so cool?

This is a serious question.


I grew up in Iowa and am proud to have done so. The reason they are so cool with regards to issues like this can be summed up in one word: education. Iowans have placed a huge premium on education, and as a result the populace skews, ever so slightly, towards being more open-minded/progressive. Recently this has been enough to tip the scales for some human rights stuff like this getting passed ahead of the curve.

Iowa is not perfect though. It has elected and then re-elected a congressman that is as batshit insane as they come.

I appreciate the Iowa kudos up the page, but in all honesty when I look to a state for unrivaled coolness, that state is so Vermont.
posted by mcstayinskool at 9:41 PM on January 2, 2013


floam: " If you're already poor in place X that sucks, why not go be poor in place Y?"

Because if you stay where you are, at least you know how to get by. If you drop everything and move somewhere else, you might not have a job when you get there. There's first and last months' rent. How long will you need to subsist on savings until you find a job, and then until paychecks come through?
posted by dunkadunc at 9:59 PM on January 2, 2013


Does anyone know why Pennsylvania, of all places, has such backward laws?

Santorum?
posted by mike3k at 10:19 PM on January 2, 2013


Santorum has never held a seat in the state legislature. He's a symptom, not part of the cause.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 4:14 AM on January 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


I would love to do this, but I'm pretty poor and I don't know if it will ever be a realistic goal for me.

Preaching to the choir, I know how it is. It's why I'm still here.
posted by Malice at 12:05 PM on January 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


Even before Supreme Court rules, gay marriage battles rage in the states.
posted by ericb at 2:13 PM on January 5, 2013


Rumination on Prop8/DOMA Possibilities from the Supreme Court.
posted by ericb at 2:15 PM on January 5, 2013


« Older What City Skies Would Look Like Without Light Poll...  |  This past fall, comedians Sara... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments