As the Culture Shifts

by Stephen H. Miller on March 4, 2012

David Boaz writes of the societal progression toward gay legal equality:

Even as the Republican candidates fight to see who can get furthest to the right, acceptance of gay people and gay marriage in the United States is moving briskly along. … Republicans haven’t given up their opposition, but their resolve is weakening. A few GOP legislators helped put [marriage equality] over the top in New York, Washington, and Maryland. Former Republican national chairman Ken Mehlman and a group of libertarian-leaning GOP donors played a key role in [Gov. Andrew] Cuomo’s efforts in New York.

The formerly vocal opposition to gay marriage has quieted. Congressional Republicans haven’t revived the Federal Marriage Amendment. Conservative media stalwarts like Rush Limbaugh and Bill Buckley’s National Review have barely mentioned the issue. (When you search for gay marriage at National Review Online, you get lots of ads for things like “Gay Destination Weddings.”) The ambitious [N.J. Gov. Chris] Christie vetoed his state’s bill while also calling for a referendum on gay marriage rather than flatly rejecting the idea. He also has nominated an openly gay judge to the state Supreme Court.

As Boaz sums it up, “That sound you don’t hear is social change happening.”

{ 9 comments }

Houndentenor March 4, 2012 at 3:25 pm

The shift is simply explained. The anti-voices grow more shrill and hateful while gays are increasingly not “those people” but friends, relatives, neighbors and co-workers.

Tom Scharbach March 4, 2012 at 4:56 pm

By the 2020 election cycle, nothing more than token opposition to marriage equality will be required of Republican presidential candidates, for the simple reason that majority opposition to marriage equality will be largely confined to the Bible Belt by that point.

Mary March 4, 2012 at 10:48 pm

I’m not sure if the anti-gay voices are necessarily growing more shrill and hateful, but I agree with you that the less people come to see gays as nameless, faceless abstractions and the more they come to see them as real people with identities and personalities (even if they are strangers) the more homophobia melts away. The anti-SSM group seems to be losing support as gay couples receive more attention and more states legalize their marriages. I know that my own views on gay issues have shifted somewhat since reading IGF, Towleroad, and other gay websites. I think that because I’m a New York City resident my image of gay people was disproportionately formed by professionals from the gay community in Manhattan, especially the art and theater world. But of course, gays exist in every profession and every economic level. And most gay people are not ever going to have their lives or professional accomplishments written up in the media. I always knew this intellectually, but it didn’t really sink in until I started doing regular reading from gays who were not famous.

Houndentenor, you might be interested to know that since I’ve read your posts here and on Towleroad, I’ve often pictured you singing in the choir. Don’t know why. Some people’s online personalities just leave an impression on you.

Houndentenor March 5, 2012 at 11:02 am

In the choir? only if they pay union scale (or better). lol

Houndentenor March 5, 2012 at 11:05 am

In the choir? only if they pay union scale (or better). lol

I think that every time Maggie Gallagher and the like open their mouths, a few more people move off the fence towards supporting equality for all. Perhaps the anti-gay folks aren’t any worse, andthe more moderate apologists for that side are either disappearing or keeping silent.

Jim March 5, 2012 at 10:44 am

Also what isn’t helping NOM is their mounting legal troubles. In states with disclosure laws (like mine-Maine), they have refused to release their donor list and have lost all appeals so far.

TomJeffersonIII March 5, 2012 at 1:14 pm

Although I did a search on David and he seems to be affiliated with those wacky libertarians as opposed to the wacky conservatives. Is he betting that the Libertarian Party will ever be something more then the electoral fringe?

Mary March 5, 2012 at 9:21 pm

Actually, Houndentenor, I meant a chorus, not a choir – I just used the wrong word! But it’s nice that at least you can appreciate my semi-change of heart. IGF has fewer people than Towleroad, but being called an idiot and a moral monster does get tiresome.

Houndentenor March 6, 2012 at 2:18 pm

Accepting? I was more thinking of congratulating you. We all deserve the same rights under the law. No one should have to settle for less.

Speaking of chorus, I have to get back to memorizing Don Carlos (en francais this time).

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