May 2, 2013

A progressively gayer flag

I love the American flag. It represents so many wonderful things about our nation - its values, its history, its individual member states' sovereignty, its unity among those states. Not that it needs to be changed, but I often daydream about ways to represent new ideas on the already powerful image of the flag. Back in my more naively anti-capitalist youth, I thought of replacing the stars on the flag with corporate logos. It turns out someone had already done that.

Just today I thought of a new one while thinking about the ongoing struggle for marriage equality in the various states. There is already a rainbow flag, and an American flag with a rainbow instead of 13 stripes. But what if certain stars were replaced with the rainbow instead, to show which states had legalized gay marriage?

To get the full picture, let's look at a base version with the rainbow overlaid on all 50 stars, to represent the hopeful future when all 50 states recognize same-sex marriage:

Then we show only those states that recognize full marriage rights, with the states listed in order of admission to the union (DE #1 at top left, HI #50 at bottom right):

Almost as many states recognize roughly equivalent civil unions or domestic partnerships, so I lowered the opacity on their stars to show the partial status of those states:

Like the official flag itself in a more subtle way, this one is a beautiful tapestry showing the diversity of our federalist system. Each state governs these matters for itself, but hopefully they'll all come to the same conclusion soon, that everyone should have the right to marry, regardless of gender or orientation, and we can get back to that first fully-colored flag (or, really, the original Stars & Stripes itself).

UPDATE: Apparently I screwed up the stars on the last two flags. North Carolina (#12) certainly doesn't recognize same-sex marriage. Edits to come later, also to include the newest member of the rainbow state family, Minnesota.

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