In his press conference this morning, Gov. Asa Hutchinson said his son, Seth, was among those who signed a petition calling for him to veto HB 1228.
“It has divided families and there is clearly a generational gap. My son, Seth, signed the petition asking me, Dad, the governor, to veto this bill. It shows that there is a generational difference on these opinions.”
That inspired the New York Times to do a short profile on the younger Hutchinson, 31, a union organizer living in Austin, Texas.
I love my dad, and we have a good, close relationship,” Mr. Hutchinson said. “But we disagree a lot on political issues. This is just another one, but a lot of families disagree politically. But we stay close.”
It was not always that way, he said.
“I kind of grew up on the campaign trail,” Mr. Hutchinson said. “Having a political opinion just came naturally to me. At first, I pretty much followed the values that my family and my parents laid out for me.”
But starting when he was about 15 and working as a dishwasher at a diner in northwest Arkansas, Mr. Hutchinson’s views began to change as he shuffled through odd jobs, including stints at Chuck E. Cheese’s and Sears. He grew frustrated when he saw older workers enduring financial hardships while they worked long hours at low-paying jobs.
“It just showed me that there’s something wrong,” he said, adding that he became interested in gay rights about the same time, when friends began discussing their sexual orientations.
Business Insider also talked to him. This is awesome:
For his part, Seth Hutchinson told Business Insider that he hoped the the “groundswell of opposition” to HB 1228, the Arkansas bill, “will energize more Americans and help create a long-lasting drive for change in this country, on many issues.”
“I’m proud to have made a small contribution to the overall effort to stop discrimination against the LGBT community in Arkansas, the state that I love (Go hogs!). I love and respect my father very much, but sometimes we have political disagreements, just as many families do,” he said. “We must build a mass movement of Americans fighting for economic, environmental, and social justice if we want to see real progress.”
Meanwhile, in an article called “Arkansas governor cites his son while rejecting religious freedom bill. That says it all,” the Washington Post used him to make a point about the inevitability of same-sex marriage.
As we’ve often talked about, in the politics of LGBT equality, age makes all the difference, the Post writes.
Seth Hutchinson is a generation younger than his father. And in the politics of gay rights, that makes a big difference.
The closest such metric that’s been measured the most consistently in recent years is the level of support for gay marriage. Last May, Gallup reported that nearly 80 percent of people aged 18 to 29 support the legalization of gay marriage, compared with 42 percent of those 65 and older. (Asa Hutchinson is 64 — in the group that was at 48 percent support in the poll.) Younger people have consistently been more supportive of legalized gay marriage, but the margin at this point is wide.
What’s more, gay marriage is supported by a wide majority of young Republicans, according to a survey from Pew Research last March. It found a slightly lower level of support among young people, but still a big difference in support by generation.