From last night's passage of an amendment to ban same-sex marriage in North Carolina, to Vice President Joe Biden's remarks about gay marriage on Sunday, this topic is a talker. Ways to tap into reaction in your area:
-- While much of the talk about same-sex marriage is in the vein of politics, it's a personal issue for some of your readers. Ask local mental-health counselors, health-care workers, lawyers and adoption agencies to put the issue in terms of the parental, power of attorney, spousal and other rights same-sex couples can miss out on if marriage is not legally recognized for them.
-- The news may have your kids asking questions. Ask family counselors how to talk to kids about being gay, and how to tell them why using the term pejoratively -- as in, "that's so gay," using it as an insult -- is not acceptable. It can be a good opportunity to open a conversation about bullying in general.
-- Look at overall marriage and divorce rates in your town. How many nuclear families are there compared with single-parent or unwed families? How many blended families are there, and how many children does your area's typical family have? The CDC and the Census bureau keep comprehensive stats.