For me there is definitely a temptation to feel like karma has descended on Utah, given the heavy involvement of the LDS Church in California politics during Proposition 8 five years ago. Those months are a sore spot for me.
Putting that aside, there is a lot of good news coming from the mountain west recently. Several petitions for immediate stays of the ruling have so far been denied and I’ve read reports of a celebratory atmosphere in Salt Lake City as many couples were married.
It is also encouraging to read of Latter-day Saints who support marriage equality. Many of them are willing to stand in support of marriage equality even though Church leadership will not budge on this issue. It seems like I’ve heard many more positive stories than not, though my Facebook feed is far from a representative sample of liberal celebration versus conservative outrage.
Attitudes about gays and gay marriage are changing, and they are changing remarkably fast. I found the following analysis of estimated state-by-state support for gay marriage from the Williams Institute at UCLA. In the figure below I graphed support for gay marriage in 2004 versus 2012 for two “liberal” states (California and New York), two “swing” states (Florida and Ohio) and two states that typically vote very conservatively in national elections (Alaska and Utah). In each case (in fact, for all 50 states according to the Williams Institute analysis), support for gay marriage has increased over the last decade.
|Modeled support for same-sex marriage in 6 selected US states in 2004 and 2012. Error bars show 95% confidence intervals.|
Another dataset on Utah opinions about same-sex marriage was compiled by the Center for the Study of Elections and Democracy at BYU. According to these polls, between 2004 and 2012 there was an increase in the percentage of people in Utah that supported at least some legal recognition for gay couples. Pretty much all of that increasing support was for civil unions.
|Public opinion polls in Utah about legal recognition of same-sex relationships in 2004 and 2012.|