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The gay rights movement’s key advantage

In the cascade of comparisons made recently between abortion and same-sex marriage -- and the specter of a political backlash arising from a Supreme Court ruling advancing gay marriage -- one glaring distinction between the two issues has been largely overlooked by prognosticators: the power of coming out.

Sixty percent of Americans now say they have a close friend or family member who is gay, an 11 percent jump from 2010. In the 1990s, most Americans said exactly the opposite.

Essentially, a progressive societal shift has taken place — what was once considered taboo has now become polite dinner table conversation in a good number of American households. And while civil rights advancements almost always provoke some societal tension, this trend toward a humanization of the subject may largely inculcate the LGBT equality movement from the setbacks that have sometimes befallen the reproductive rights movement.

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