A good examination of the strange drive among liberal elites for “same-sex marriage”, via the UK Telegraph: Gay marriage is now the issue through which the elite advertises its superiority over the redneck masses
A question rarely asked about gay marriage is how it became such a massive flashpoint issue. … The speed and ease with which gay marriage has gone from being a tiny minority concern to become the No 1 battle in the modern culture wars has been truly remarkable – and revealing.
The use of gay marriage as a platform from which to announce one’s superior moral sensibilities can be seen in the way that its backers, those ostensibly liberal reformers, look down with undiluted snobbery upon their critics and opponents. …
Or as one commenter at the NOM blog succinctly put it: “Supporting ssm is becoming no more than a fashion statement. Kinda like ‘going green.'”
Folks who oppose same-gender marriage really do tend to overanalyze and misunderstand why more and more people are becoming supporters of the idea. It is really very simple. More and more people are getting to know same-gender couples and their families personally. They see that the characterizations of who these families are and how they live their lives, as offered up by SSM opponents, are often malicious fallacies. The see that these families lead very normal, happy, productive lives. The see the harm that is inflicted on these families by the discriminatory status quo. That is how it worked with me, and how it has worked with the majority of the people I know. It is not some abstract fashion statement. It is a very personal thing for more and more straights, driven by real, first-hand experiences.
What does knowing gay people have to do with whether the institution of marriage should be redefined? I don’t see how that follows. I know gay people, yet oppose the redefinition of marriage. That’s because the premise of those who want to redefine marriage – that opposition is based on animus towards gays – is false. In any case, I don’t think there’s any evidence to support the assertion you’re making, that “more and more people are getting to know same-gender couples and their families personally”.
Getting to know gay people, and same-gender couples and their families in particular, actually has a great deal to do with it for most people I know. For one thing, it tends to cleanse people of a lot of negative misconceptions they have about gay people … misconceptions that almost always come up in discussions about same-gender marriage. For another, it helps folks realize that what the same-gender couples they know personally have … how they bond emotionally and how they function as a couple … is pretty much the same as what most straight couples they know have.
For most of my life, I was not aware of the gay people in my life, and certainly didn’t know any same-gender couples. I viewed marriage as being strictly between people of the opposite gender pretty much by default. But in the past 15 years I’ve gotten to know several, including some with kids. And getting to know them has made me realize that what I always thought marriage was applies just as much to them as it does to my wife and me. That’s particularly true in the context of civil marriage, which is all about state-granted benefits/protections given to couples to promote the growth of healthy, happy, productive families … regardless of whether the families consist of just the couples themselves, couples with biological children, or couples with kids in their care/custody through adoption, IVG/surrogacy, or previous relationships. So viewing it as a redefinition of the “institution of marriage” doesn’t even mesh with what is happening in the minds of most people I know.
As for animus toward gays, I actually know quite a few people who oppose same-gender marriage, and very few are openly hostile towards gays. But most still harbor negative biases toward gays that show up in conversation … a lot of it based on religious teachings. The Catechism of the Catholic Church, for example, teaches that loving, committed same-gender couples are guilty of “acts of grave depravity,” and they base that on four scriptures that are specifically about things like gang-rape, consuming lust, and (according to the USCCB and the Catholic translators of the Church’s own NAB translation) pedophilia and prostitution. Catholic leaders tend to try and gloss over that core Catechetical portrayal of gay people, but it is literally the foundation of their official teachings. Many people — Catholic and non-Catholic alike — were raised with such views of gays, and while they may not bear any personal animosity toward gays, such views, latent though they often are, are malicious and often pop up in conversations about this topic.
As for your last comment, about your skepticism that more and more people are getting to know same-gender couples and their families personally, I think you frankly are being delusional. Prior to 15 years ago, I didn’t know any such couples, and I don’t recall anybody I know having been acquainted with such couples. Now most people I know are acquainted with such couples, and that has had a big impact on their views. I’m not actually sure it matters if you believe it or not … it’s just a fact that the portrayal of supporters of SSM in the article doesn’t describe me, nor does it describe any of the many people I know who support same-gender marriage. The changing attitudes are all about getting to know these people personally, and the article’s claim that it is all just an elitist fashion statement just comes across as silly and dismissive.
Of course your anecdotal experience isn’t necessarily representative of anything. I don’t think there’s any evidence of a great boom in people who have met same-sex couples in the last few years that could be correlated with the polls on same-sex marriage. Also, the numbers just aren’t there:
My experiences may not “necessarily” be representative, but the fact that they are uniformly at odds with the portrayal of SSM supporters in the article … based on not just my experiences, but also those of most everyone I know, and (from what I’ve heard from them) most people THEY know … is something I find very convincing. Convincing to the point where it probably isn’t even important whether you buy it or not. Part of the point is that arguments/debates like this are becoming almost secondary, since it is (in my opinion) the reality of people’s experiences that are now largely driving opinions on this issue.
As for your statistic, it doesn’t really demonstrate a whole lot, one way or the other, as it says absolutely nothing about trends over the last 15 years (which is the whole point of this discussion), and it doesn’t say anything about the percentage of same-gender couples that have come out. What it does say, though … based on the number of people that have come into and out of my life socially, through work, through church, etc. … is that the number of same-gender families I know meshes pretty well with what ABC reported. And whether you believe it or not, I think it is pretty obvious that the number of outed same-gender couples was much, much lower 15 years ago.
Well, I guess the fact that you find your own experience convincing is unsurprising. I don’t see any reason why it should convince anyone else though. The link I posted was from 2009, not from 15 years ago. The statistics could not have been “much, much lower” than one percent 15 years ago, by definition.
What has changed in recent years is a concerted media onslaught of propaganda, which leads people to grossly false beliefs about the issue, such as U.S. Adults Estimate That 25% of Americans Are Gay or Lesbian.
Again, it’s not just my personal experience, but my observation about the experiences of most people I know … the better you know a same-gender couple (or several couples), the more likely you are to support same-gender marriage, for all the reasons I cited. Feel free to disregard my observations completely, though I think that leads you to badly misinterpret what is going on, in ways that unfairly portrays supporters of SSM.
As for the statistic, you don’t make much sense. I was quite aware that the link was recent, and noted that it seemed to mesh quite well with my own recent experience, knowing several same-gender couples, including some with kids. That is much greater than the number of same-gender couples I knew 15 years ago … infinitely greater, actually, since I knew none prior to that. And the impact of knowing a few such couples has been enormous, not just for me but for many, whether you believe it or not.