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This Is How Fast America Changes Its Mind By Alex Tribou and Keith CollinsUpdated: June 26, 2015 Eleven years after Massachusetts became the first state to allow same-sex couples to marry, the Supreme Court has now extended that right nationwide. The decision came after a wave of gay marriage legalization: 28 states from 2013 to 2015, with 36 overall prior to the Court's ruling. Such widespread acceptance in a short amount of time isn't a phenomenon unique to gay marriage. Social change in the U.S. appears to follow a pattern: A few pioneer states get out front before the others, and then a key event—often a court decision or a grassroots campaign reaching maturity—triggers a rush of state activity that ultimately leads to a change in federal law. We looked at six big issues—interracial marriage, prohibition, women’s suffrage, abortion, same-sex marriage, and recreational marijuana — to show how this has happened in the past, and may again in the very near future.
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