Georgia’s long climb to gay marriage support

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Piddling as it is, one positive about Georgia’s LGBT rights bigotry is that it isn’t as bad as it used to be. Change is slow, but a new study shows that statewide support for marriage equality is up for the 10th year in a row.

The Williams Institute, the UCLA gay think tank that measures all manner of statistics as they relate to LGBT issues, released its exhaustive annual state-by-state survey of public support for marriage equality last week, and this time compiled the results with the same survey since 2004 for a decade-long “megapoll” that shows we’re making progress.

In fact, not only has support for gay couples marrying increased every year in every state, it goes up at an accelerated rate as the each year passes, the report says.

Key findings from the report include:

• Since 2004, public support in every state has increased on average 2.6 percent. Since 2012, it has risen 6.2 percent every year.

• By 2014, 36 states and the District of Columbia are estimated to have support at or above 50 percent. By 2016, two more states are estimated to join that group.

• In 2014, Vermont was the state with the highest level of public support at 75 percent, and Alabama had the lowest at 35 percent. The District of Columbia had 86 percent support.

Things aren’t quite that rosy in Georgia, which ranks 43rd in the report, but the situation is rapidly improving. The state now shows 43 percent of residents support marriage equality. That’s up two percentage points in just 18 months, when the South sucked a decade off the national average.

The good news is that the stats from 2004 show Georgia’s gay marriage support at less than 25 percent. As recently as 2011, it was at 35 percent in favor of legalizing marriage for same-sex couples. Using the growth patterns of the last decade, the Williams Institute predicts 48 percent support in Georgia by 2016.

By then of course, it may be legal by writ of the Supreme Court even if state residents aren’t all on board with the idea. Good thing, too, since everyone in Georgia seems to be coming out for marriage equality with Atlanta as its marriage mecca. Even some Republican lawmakers like the $78 million boost it could bring to the state. Otherwise, we’d be waiting for old people to die.

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