In Kentucky, Over 80 Percent Oppose Discrimination Against Gays and Lesbians
In Iowa, they're considering legislation that has the potential to create a new Jim Crow Midwest where gays and lesbians are essentially second-class citizens.
Meanwhile, in the deep South, we find this:
Some 83 percent of Kentuckians say gay people should be protected from discrimination in the workplace, in housing and in public places such as restaurants, according to a survey released Monday by the statewide Fairness Coalition. That is an increase of 18 percentage points since 2004, when a similar survey was conducted.
"I think the numbers will shock people across the state," said Chris Hartman, director of the Fairness Campaign, one of five groups that are part of the umbrella coalition that works for equality for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Kentuckians.
Hartman said he was astounded at the level of tolerance reflected in the answers to 10 questions in the survey.
"I believed the numbers were going to be good, but with all of them hitting the 80s or sometimes 90s (percent), that was surprising," he said.
Like most liberals, I've long been quite confident that when we look back at this period in 20 years' time, the homophobes standing in the way of full legal equality for the LGBT community will look just like the red-faced racist sheriffs assaulting civil rights' activists with fire-hoses and dogs appear to us today*.
Giving these results, in Kentucky, I may have overestimated the time we'll need to get there.
Also worth noting: According to new polling, if Sarah Palin were the Republican nominee in 2012, Kentucky would be very much in play.
* I raised this point with someone who's been trying to marry her girlfriend for several years, and she pointed out that the fact that Americans, by every conceivable measure, are becoming more tolerant of homosexuality provides absolutely zero solace to someone who desperately wants to tie the knot with someone he or she loves and can't. I was blind to the fact that I'd essentially made the same argument passive white liberals offered blacks during the Civil Rights' era -- 'just you wait, your time is coming.'