Apparently, for same-sex couples raising children, Mississippi — a state whose name was emblazoned in ignominious wanted-poster font about halfway through Django Unchained — really is like coming home, even more so than the traditionally more progressive geographical elbow-crook we call California.
According to an (initially) surprising infographic from the Williams Institute, Mississippi boasts the highest percentage of same-sex parents raising kids together at 26 percent, and that statistic isn’t anomalous. The metro areas with the highest percentage of same-sex child-rearers —Salt Lake City (26 percent), Memphis (22 percent), and San Antonio (22 percent) to name a few with populations over a million — are located in states that have a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. The percentage of same-sex parents raising kids in all of California? Just 15 percent.
These findings led SF Weekly to have a minor existential crisis about California’s position at the Pacific vanguard of all things socially progressive (especially when it reconsidered the fact that Mississippi is one of the worst places for anyone to raise children, on a scale of Mississippi to New Jersey). Consider also the fact that the percentage of same-sex couples raising kids drops even lower in states like Maine (13 percent) and New York (just under 16 percent) where gay marriage is actually legal, and this research seems downright befuddling.
Of course, California has lots of people, so comparing percentages of anything with a state like Mississippi that contains just under three million people can definitely be misleading. Still, the figures from major metro areas do point to high percentages of same-sex couples raising kids in spite of their state governments’ general hostility to same-sex marriage. Maybe that’s because that the cost of living is waaaaaay lower in Mississippi or Tennessee, say, that it is in California or New York, thus making the rearing of tiny, needful humans much less burdensome.
Think about that the next time you deride Mississippi for being a bastion of outdated, backwards ideologies — that’s just what it wants you to think so you’ll stay in California with your shark-infested ocean and your inferior seafood. Everyone knows the best shellfish comes from the Gulf of Mexico.
Image via Shutterstock. David P. Smith