One of the more controversial ideas in Richard’s Creative Class theory is the Gay Index. To review, he doesn’t say that gays cause creativity, but that their acceptance by the straight community is a sign of tolerance which is important to creative class folks. Well, it looks like a lot of America is becoming more tolerant.
With Iowa and Vermont becoming the third and fourth states to allow same-sex marriage this week, there is obviously a trend. New Hampshire’s State Senate is preparing to vote on a House-passed measure. California is awaiting a state Supreme Court ruling on Proposition 8, which prohibited gay marriage. The Washington, D.C. council unanimously passed a same-sex marriage ordinance but it has to be approved by Congress, so will probably be overturned.
What all of this is showing is a remarkably fast change in public attitudes. The larger public image of gays has shifted from promiscuous pedophiles to 25-year couples who want to get married.
- A third of Americans think same-sex couples should be allowed to marry, up from 22 percent in 2004. This five-year change is indicative of a major cultural shift.
- Sixty percent think some sort of legal recognition is appropriate for same-sex couples.
- California’s Proposition 8, which outlawed gay marriage, passed by 52 percent, meaning that 48 percent or almost half of the state’s population approved.
- The vote in the D.C. council, which has six of 13 black members, rebuts the idea that the African Americans are uniformly anti gay rights.
News stories point to churches like Quakers and Unitarians that perform same-sex marriages. However, a couple of decades ago no denomination would do so. The difficult changes in Quaker Meetings took years and some members leaving to happen. There’s a saying in Quaker circles that it took 200 years for Quakers to oppose slavery – but they did it 100 years before the rest of the country. The same thing is proving true with gay marriage.
So if America is becoming more accepting of gays, what does this mean for the creative class and the economy?