Children often don't get enough credit for being socially aware, but as any parent will tell you: they're always observing.
At least, that certainly seems to hold for the 11 savvy kids and teens gathered by the Kids React video series to give their thoughts about marriage equality becoming the law of the land on June 26. There are cheers, thoughtful pauses, clapping, grand pronouncements, a little confusion, and lots of smiles from the group, who by and large seem pretty happy to live in a world where, as the youngest, 6-year-old Dominick, puts it, "it's alright that these people [of] the same gender [who] really want to marry each other can."
"I thought I would be in my 20s or 30s by the time same-sex marriage was legalized!" exclaims eldest participant Elle, 13, who later excitedly imagines other kids growing up in a world where nationwide equality has never been illegal.
The entire group is asked several questions by Kids React interviewers, starting simple -- What just happened here in the United States? -- and moving more deeply (and quite maturely) into queries about the former illegality of interracial marriage and controversial claims about religous exemptions from performing same-sex marriage ceremonies.
Though the video is chock full of insight, perhaps the most eye-opening moments come from the handful of kids who were invited back to participate in Kids React after being featured in the project's 2013 video "Kids React to Gay Marriage." While several kids' opinions remain the same (they all think marriage equality is just dandy), a couple of the younger children have developed new ideas.
"That's a strong decision. I'm not saying it's a bad one. It's a good one," says 9-year-old Samirah, who'd previously felt that same-sex marriage proposals were "just crazy!" And 7-year-old Lucas gives one of the best reactions of all. Clearly feeling very grown-up, he explains how he was able to move from thinking "gay is bad for you because...I don't know!" to believing same-sex marriage is "a good decision [by which] people can have a good and happy life."
"Last time I was concerned that it was not good," admitted the second-grader, "but now I'm in a higher grade. I read more books, get more information about stuff. I feel different now."