I talked with Ned Flaherty, Project Manager Election 2012 for the national LGBT organization Marriage Equality USA, to get an update on LGBT relationship protections in America. Ned has created a significant map for Marriage Equality USA, revealing the encouraging news that 42 percent of Americans now live in the 21 states that offer some form of legal recognition at the state level for same-gender relationships. The map illustrates the states offering partial equality, as well as itemizing the 30 states where various bans on marriage by law, constitution, or both remain in effect.
Ned Flaherty lives in Massachusetts, where gay marriage is celebrating its eighth anniversary in May. When asked what his reaction has been to the recent news of gay marriage passing in Washington state, Prop 8 being found unconstitutional in California by the United States Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, and the possibility of marriage equality passing in Maryland, Flaherty stated:
I expect that every state that passes marriage equality in any significant way is going to have the same experience we've had for the last eight years in Massachusetts -- and that is, first of all, none of the dire consequences threatened by the religious evangelicals or the right-wing Republicans have ever occurred here. The second thing is a couple of dramatic improvements. One is there's more business revenue and more tax revenue into the state government, simply as the result of the additional marriage business going on here. And the third thing is Massachusetts has one of the lowest divorce rates now in the nation. The nation hasn't had a divorce rate as low as Massachusetts for decades. So I think that among those states you mentioned and the others that you didn't mention, as they all move closer towards marriage equality, they're going to find more business, more government tax revenue, and none of the frightening harms that the equality opponents always talk about.
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