Tuesday, May 14, 2013

A List of 12

For the past year, T and I have been idly maintaining a list of the states we might move to when our time in New Jersey is through.  I like New Jersey well enough, of course, but it is expensive to live here and neither of us is native to this heavily over-populated region.  We'd both like to live in the quiet woods some day and we need some woods that are affordable.  Some of this is idle-daydreaming, of course, but that's a lovely thing to do and so we indulge.

When this activity first began, loads of states were in the list.  Some were clearly places I favored thanks to my fondness for sweet tea, thick accents, and magnolia blossoms  (looking at you, Tennessee, Virginia, and North Carolina).  Some were places that are known to be friendly to gays.  That would not be Tennessee, Virginia, and North Carolina, but did include places like Washington and Vermont.

In the last year, as support for same-sex marriage rights have exploded, it's become increasingly clear that the only sensible choice is to consider states where we can enjoy a full complement of legal rights.  That's a happily ever-expanding list these days.  More to the point, the realization that some states really get it while others emphatically don't has meant that even including states where discrimination is still legal is a ridiculous notion.

See ya, Tennessee, Virginia, and North Carolina.  Welcome aboard, Maryland, Delaware, Rhode Island, and Minnesota.  It's a heady time for those of us interested in equality.  It's thrilling to see such progress, not only for the rights of my family and loved ones, but also for the hopeful sign it gives young people just coming to terms with who they are.  

The list of states looking out for equality includes plenty of places I would happily consider living.  Though it once seemed like a remarkable prospect, I now take such a circumstance for granted.  Twelve states, representing the homes of nearly one-fifth of the nation, actively protect the rights of all of us.  That's an impressive number and that it's likely to grow even larger is empowering.

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