As Supreme Court hearings for same-sex marriage start today, Alex Tribou and Keith Collins for Bloomberg look back at timelines for past social issues, such as interracial marriage and abortion.
Each line represents an issue, and the height shows the number of states that removed the ban each year, so you end up with lines that increase slowly, and then there’s a sudden jolt upwards that ends in federal action. Note the quick increase over just a few years with same-sex marriage. Marijuana legalization on the far bottom right is getting started.
Scroll down the page for more details on each issue, with moving lines that provide a sense of change and the now familiar gridded state maps filled over time.