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Surprising Statistics about Gay Marriage in the USA
(Blogmensgo, gay blog of December 6, 2015) Depending on the state, statistics on gay marriage vary widely within the US. People in North Dakota are still rather homophobic, whereas Virginia is a “model student.”
The statistics do not cover the same periods because Virginia legalized gay marriage already on October 6, 2014, and North Dakota only on June 26, 2015.
Anxious reluctance in North Dakota
Same-sex weddings have only been celebrated in 18 of the 53 counties of North Dakota. Between June 26 and November 28, 2015, only 60 gay weddings were officiated, compared to a total of 4500 weddings on average per year.
There are three explanations for this very weak success of gay marriage in North Dakota:
Many same-sex couples of that state were married in neighboring states where gay marriage was legalized before.
Hesitation and anxiety of the type: “What will the neighbors say?” – North Dakota is very rural, and typically, people are very religious.
The main reason however, is likely to be the absence of laws and provisions against homophobic discrimination. In six years, three legislative initiatives to protect LGBT persons against discrimination were rejected by the Assembly, the legislative body. Obviously, a same-sex wedding is a clear demonstration of the sexual orientation and comes with the risk to lose one’s job or apartment – the children may even get kicked out of their school.
Enthusiasm for gay marriage in Virginia
Since October 2014, there have been 3600 same-sex weddings but the geographic distribution varies widely.
In the Northern part of Virginia, gay marriage rates have only been at around 4% since October 2014 although this part of Virginia is known as very tolerant and gay friendly. Clearly, this is due to the proximity to Maryland and Washington, DC, where same-sex marriage was legalized in 2013 and 2010, respectively.
In some of the bigger cities of Virginia, such as Richmond, Norfolk and Charlottesville, same-sex marriage rates have been as high as 9%, and in Roanoke even at 11% since legalization nine months ago.
Naturally, there are some lower-rate regions in Virginia, too. Roanoke’s very high percentage is likely due to the fact that gays and lesbians there have been very active and militant in the fight for gay right for decades.
A couple of weeks ago, the first wedding fair not specifically targeting straight couples was held in Roanoke. The posters and ads of the campaign for “OneLove” showed a very visible link to the Human Rights Campaign, as shown below:
Even some priests celebrate religious weddings with gay and lesbian couples in Virgina now, such as reverend Joe Cobb. He had left the Methodist Church and come out of the closet himself. He has already married 50 same-sex couples, up to four a day sometimes.