America’s Common Ground: Gay marriage & marijuana?

This entry is part 1 of 5 in the series American Common Ground
STAY TUNED! One week from today, "United America" is released nationally. You'll hear a lot more next week about how much the OurValues project contributed to this new book.

STAY TUNED! One week from today, “United America” will be released nationally. You’ll hear a lot more next week about the many ways that the OurValues project contributed to this new book.

One week before the publication of my new book, United America, we take a look at some of the historic milestones that seem to be reshaping America’s common ground, today.

The milestones we will discuss this week were charted by the Pew research team. They are different from the core values I will identify  in my book, but these emerging points of consensus identified by the Pew team certainly signal historic trends that could turn into large majorities, someday.


Today, consider that—for the first time ever—more than half of Americans favor allowing same-sex “marriage” and a majority of Americans favor legalizing marijuana.

Today’s question: Which surprises you more?

Equal opportunity is one of America’s 10 core values, but it is one that has taken a long time to materialize—and it has a long way to go. Today, Pew researchers have found, a majority of Americans support legalizing same-sex “marriage.” Overall, 7 in 10 Americans (72%) say that the legal recognition of same-sex marriage is “inevitable.” Even among current opponents of same-sex marriage, 6 of 10 still say it’s inevitable.

Same-sex marriage remains a divisive issue. Over 4 of 10 Americans (42%) oppose it, often on religious grounds. But Pew’s Fact Tank shows a clear upward trend over the years. The historic milestone of majority support for same-sex marriage may prove to be the tipping point after which support grows and grows.

AND MARIJUANA: The same is true for support for the legalization of marijuana. Last year was the first time in 40 years that a majority of Americans (52%) said they support making legal the use marijuana. Some may think of marijuana as a recreational drug, but more and more Americans use it for pain relief. I have a relative in severe arthritis pain who finds some relief with it.

Like same-sex marriage, the legalization of marijuana is a divisive issue. Almost half (45%) say it should not be legalized. However you feel about making marijuana legal, the historic milestone of majority support may be the tipping point in public opinion.

ON RACIAL EQUALITY: Over the sweep of many decades, the application of equality has broadened and deepened. But we still have a long way to go. For example, only 45% of Americans say we have made a lot of progress in the last 50 years on racial equality, according to Pew. That’s something to reflect upon today, the day we honor Martin Luther King, Jr.

How do you feel about the historic milestones of majority support for gay marriage and marijuana?

Are these milestones evidence of increasing equality?

Or, a sign of social decline and deterioration?

Which one surprises you more?

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  1. Gregory Mann says

    As MLK used to say,the arc of history bends slowly but it does bend toward justice for all! And Chuck is wrong, there is a consensus to pay for what we spend but the Republinuts controlling the US House of Representatives doesn’t get it. Taxes are at the lowest level in since Truman was President, so we need to raise taxes, not cut the budget!

  2. Gregory Mann says

    The legalization of pot surprises me the most though the sudden consensus on marriage is also very surprising!

  3. revp says

    Just think the taxes alone on legalizing marijuana could be a huge hit on the deficit…but, who knows I don’t have much faith in the management of either side.