(Photo: 'Maybe It's Just Me' Blog)
Well, this is good news. The Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN, recently conducted a poll that shows the highly Conservative RED state of Tennessee, is having a positive change of heart towards legalized marriage for same-sex couples.
This Vanderbilt poll, taken this month, shows 49 percent of Tennesseans now support gay marriage and civil unions. 46 percent are opposed to both, which basically divides the state.
Interestingly, 62 percent of Tennesseans approve health insurance and other employee benefits be given to the domestic partners or spouses of gays and lesbians. Only 31 per cent oppose the idea.
To appreciate this news, 81 per cent of Tennessee voters passed a state constitutional amendment in 2006, that said, in order for a marriage to be legal and recognized, it must be between 'one man and one women'.
Chris Sanders, president of the Tennessee Equality Project, a gay-rights group says the new poll shows a significant shift in the number of Tennesseans who are open to, and taking steps towards gay marriage:
“Tennesseans are traditional — they are standing by their religious view of marriage — but they are not cruel,” Sanders said. “Tennesseans are looking for a way to help people and protect their conservative view at the same time.”
As the U.S. Supreme Court decides whether to strike state bans on gay marriage giving equal rights to all couples, the country is moving forward on its own.The nationwide number of states that recognize same-sex marriage is now at 12 and rising. In just the last month, Minnesota, Rhode Island and Delaware have each extended equal marriage rights to gay and lesbian couples. This is a wonderfully positive trend.
In order for Tennessee to join the other states, there will be hurdles. A repeal to the current amendment would require two-thirds majorities in the state Senate and House of Representatives, and a majority vote from Tennesseans.
Still, this poll can be viewd as very positive news. If a Red state like Tennessee can begin its journey towards legalizing same-sex marriage, a state that chose George W. Bush over their own resident Al Gore, then there is hope for other extremely conservative states to do the same.
It will be a grand day when all of our united states legalize same-sex marriage, and America joins countries around the world, in supporting and passing laws that legalize equal marriage rights to all. One would think we'd be a leader in such legislation. However, 'tis better late than never.
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