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The South’s embrace of gay marriage

This is an excerpt from an article by Robert P. Jones in the March issue of The Atlantic, “The South’s Stunning Embrace of Gay Marriage.”

First, it is difficult to overstate the effect of the generation gap. A decade ago, when most of these same-sex marriage bans were passed across the South, the vast majority of today’s Millennials were neither counted in public-opinion surveys of adults nor eligible to vote. Their attitudes strongly diverge from their parents and grandparents. Nationwide, nearly seven in 10 (69 percent) Americans ages 18 to 33 favor same-sex marriage, compared to just 37 percent of Americans ages 68 and older. …
Second, and perhaps not surprisingly given the value Southerners place on hospitality, there is a growing “friends and family effect” at work in Southerners’ changing attitudes. Despite the generally conservative cultural climate, more gay and lesbian Southerners are coming out to those who are close to them. …
The trend lines all point to a rising swell of support for same-sex marriage — even way down South in Dixie — powered by the coming of age of Millennial Southerners, the coming out of LGBT Southerners, and the comeback of the principle of separation of church and state. The sea change in Southern attitudes signals that old times there may indeed be being forgotten.

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