D Gregory Smith

Same-Sex Couples Increase Outside Of Heavily Populated Areas

Filed By D Gregory Smith | August 26, 2011 12:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Living, Marriage Equality, The Movement
Tags: Census Bureau, demographic shift, demographics survey, LGBT, Montana, partners, same-sex couples, Wall Street Journal

Census2010.jpgThe Wall Street Journal today profiles the statistical rise of same-sex couples in the United States - especially outside of LGBT mainstream cities, such as New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C. This increase in same-sex couples is happening extremely quickly in rural places - including in Montana:

The Census Bureau doesn't ask people about their sexual orientation. But since 1990, respondents have had the option to identify themselves as living with a same-sex partner. This group grew by half nationwide between 2000 and 2010, figures released this week show. ... The number of self-identified gay couples rose by nearly 90% in Montana, Nevada and West Virginia, for instance, while California, New York and Washington, D.C., saw increases of 40% or less, according to Mr. Gates's analysis of the data.

Yep, looks like we're here to stay. And there are increasingly more of us - probably due to more of us coming out and doing so earlier - and feeling less threatened in our hometowns. There's still more work to do, but this is very good news.

The article continues:

Polls suggest wider acceptance of gays nationwide. About 46% of people oppose gay marriage today, for instance, down from 65% in 1996, according to the Pew Research Center.

Montana native Ken Spencer, 46 years old, said he has seen the shift firsthand. Growing up, he said, he believed that "if you were gay, you had to leave Montana." He kept his homosexuality a secret for years.

But gay people have become more visible in the state, with this year's Montana Pride celebration in Bozeman drawing about 2,000 people, up from a few hundred in 2002. Mr. Spencer said he identified himself as living with his same-sex partner for the first time in 2010.

Yep, that's my guy.

Ken and I made a conscious decision to stay in Montana and work for awareness and equality, just as many others, it seems - have chosen to do. We were born here, we like it here, and we're not going to be driven out by ignorance and fear. And neither should anyone else.

And, with these statistics, it's looking like we're doing some things right.

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