Sunday, November 25, 2012

Meanwhile, at the bottom of the ballot

Next Media Animation picks up on two trends in Marijuana legalization and same-sex marriage celebrate epic victories.

For the first time in the history of the U.S. voters had the option to approve same-sex marriage at the ballot box. Gay rights advocates were able to add Maine, Maryland and Minnesota to the short list of same-sex marriage approved states.

Wisconsin also contributed to the monumental leap forward by electing Democrat Tammy Baldwin as the state's first female senator and first openly gay person elected to the chamber. Many individuals believe that victories such as these, demonstrate a shift in the public opinion.

Colorado and Washington state also made history by legalizing marijuana. Before you go and do a happy dance, there are some key factors complicating the issue. For one, marijuana is still considered illegal under federal law. Some are claiming that the federal government will fight these measures or threaten marijuana shops.

In the meantime residents in Colorado and Washington state must closely follow the rules, and make sure they have the appropriate paperwork to legally grow and consume marijuana.
This video came out right after the election. On the 19th, Michigan State University explained how the trend has been playing out for marriage equality in Support for gay marriage grows in Michigan.
Support for gay marriage is growing in Michigan, mirroring changing attitudes in many parts of the United States, according to Michigan State University’s State of the State Survey.

A recent survey found that 56 percent of the state’s residents support gay marriage while 39 percent oppose it. Two years ago, 48 percent supported gay marriage and 51 percent were opposed.

“Support for gay marriage has increased in recent years, in Michigan and across the country,” said Charles Ballard, MSU economics professor and director of the State of the State Survey.
The State of the State Survey, based on a June 12-Aug. 13 telephone survey of 1,015 Michigan adults, showed substantial differences among different groups:
  • Among those with at least some college education, 63 percent favored gay marriage, while it was favored by only 26 percent of those who had never been to college.
  • About 71 percent of those with household income over $100,000 favored gay marriage, compared with only 26 percent of those with household income below $20,000. Since income is strongly influenced by education, Ballard said, it is not surprising that there are major differences among Michigan residents of different income levels.
  • Some 57 percent of whites favored gay marriage, whereas only 30 percent of blacks did so.
  • Gay marriage was favored by 58 percent of Catholics, 48 percent of Protestants and 78 percent of those with no religious preference.
“Although a majority of Michigan residents favored gay marriage in this survey,” Ballard said, “there remain substantial differences among different groups.”
I'm not surprised by any of this except maybe the speed with which it's happening. Two years ago, I told one of my students that there would be two changes in his lifetime propelled by his generation--marijuana legalization and marriage equality. This past election confirmed my predictions--so far. He came by my office to express his amazement that I was right. It's not that amazing. All I had to do was pay attention to the trends and remember that society, like science, changes one funeral at a time.

Speaking of astonished students, another one emailed me to remind me that I had said recently that New Jersey would be underwater in two years and asked how I knew. I don't recall saying two years. I think I said twenty. I'll chalk that up to the student misremembering and a grand coincidence that Sandy hit when it did. Even so, it's better to be lucky than to be good!

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