This is not at all surprising. Opposition to gay marriage and other social change correlates strongly with high levels of religiosity and with low education levels, especially in logical disciplines such as science and math. Some quotes:
“Tennessee ranks at the bottom in 8th grade reading, 8th grade math, and 4th grade math.”
“Compared to other developed countries, the United States fares poorly in mathematics education. Within the United States, Tennessee's public schools rank near the bottom in standardized test scores in these subjects.”
“On the latest comparison of international math scores, Tennessee ranked 83, sandwiched between Turkey and Uruguay.”
At the same time, Tennessee voters elect representatives who make sure that the Scopes trial stays in the mind of the global community as Tennessee’s contribution to scientific thinking:
“Tennessee law allows creationism theory in classrooms”
Instead of logic and science, Tennessee is globally known for the "Don't Say Gay" bill, the 21st century version of Scopes.
Why is anyone surprised?
BikeGuy, I think the correlation is not as easy as you put it. Society changes are a more liberal idea in the first place. The whole notion of conservative is they do not like to make new laws(basically changes). You could just have easily said Red states and opposition to gay marraige are one and the same. I think this has more to do with your upbringing. You are born with no prejudice or hatred, they are learned traits of humans(I also believe no one is born gay, just my opinion). I do think it is their right to get married. The disdain toward homosexuals is engrained from a young age and if they grew up to be a rocket-scientist I doubt their views would change.
While we're passing a joint around, ponder this: In states that allow same sex marriage do first cousins of the same sex have the right to marry? If so does that mean that hetro-sexual first cousins should have the same right?
I'm not exactly sure how the cousin question is remotely relevant. I do agree with Postlooker22 with the exception of people being born gay (but as you said that is your opinion.) I do think that this state is fiercely Republican, religious, and completely backward. I think that it's absolutely ridiculous to let something as arbitrary and topical as religion prevent two people who love each other from getting married. An angrier version of myself would completely support BikeGuy's argument of the correlation between Tennessee's lack of intelligence/education and strong religious stance but I don't want to be that rash. I will say, however, that I am not surprised at all by the opposition to anything homosexual or liberal. I was born and raised in the state and I've had religion and a disdain for anything different force fed to me the entire time, which made me the liberal atheist that I am today. Digression aside, I honestly don't think that this state's views on the subject will ever change because as Postlooker22 pointed out, people aren't born with prejudice or hatred. It's being taught to younger generations, keeping our state's reputation fully intact.
Darronincheese: The "cousin qustion" is only relevant if you understand that the law in some states (ie.Arkansas,Delaware,,Idaho,and Iowa among others)forbids marriage between first cousins. The reason is that the children produced by first cousins are of greater risk of being born with genetic defects than those of non related couples. Since same sex cousins aren't likely to produce offspring,which law would prevail in states that approve same sex but no first cousins marriage?
bota, it is legal in tennessee for cousins to marry.
postlooker, do you honestly believe that people choose to be gay? When did you choose to be straight? I can tell you when ... you didn't. You just found yourself attracted to the opposite sex. It's innate.
Me123:"bota, it is legal in tennessee for cousins to marry." Yes, Tn. is among the over 25 states that allow some form of "Cousin Marriage", but since Tn. does not allow same sex mariages that info has nothing to do with the potential legal question that I was (trying) to point out.