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Thursday, October 19, 2006

Another Craig Westover Column on Gay Marriage

It's quite insightful and is available here.

OK, enough about same-sex marriage. It's a distraction from important issues. People on the street don't care. A gay marriage amendment is unnecessary. We have a law. Let's move on.

Would that we could. What politicians and a gay-marriage-weary straight society are missing is this: The "unnecessary" debate, right here in Ole and Lena's Minnesota, has set a rising level of expectations among an increasing number of same-sex couples. The reality is it's time to grasp the inevitable and make it look like a plan.

Based on data from the American Community Survey (which replaces the Census Bureau's long-form document), the number of self-identified same-sex couples in Minnesota increased 76 percent in the past five years, the third largest percentage increase in the nation (9,147 couples in 2000 to 16,081 in 2005).

Is this the lavender horde that Defense of Marriage Act supporters have been warning us about?

According to analysis of the survey data by the Williams Institute on Sexual Orientation Law and Public Policy at UCLA, the increase in same-sex couples is a combination of more couples forming relationships and — even more — same-sex couples willing to acknowledge existing relationships.

"Most likely, as stigma associated with same-sex partnering and homosexuality decreases, more same-sex couples are willing to identify themselves as such on government surveys," said Gary Gates, senior research fellow at the Williams Institute and author of the study.

Read the whole thing.