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Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Familiarity breeds … acceptance. That’s why the battle for full equality for gays and lesbians is already won, no matter what the U.S. Supreme Court decides.

A generation of young Americans has grown up with openly gay friends, neighbors and family members, teachers, preachers and entertainment idols. They know them in all their humanity: as responsible parents, as respectable business owners, as conscientious churchgoers, as liars, as cheaters, as drunks. For voters under 35, gay and lesbian Americans are no strange breed apart; they are simply people, just like heterosexuals.

As a college teacher, I’ve observed that casual affirmation of the full humanity of gays and lesbians. Even on a university campus in the Deep South, where many students hail from Republican families and hew to conservative religious beliefs, homosexual students are generally accepted as peers.

Among the cohort called “millennials” by the respected Pew Research Center — those are adults born since 1980 — support for same-sex marriage is at 70 percent. The same percentage of millennials believes gays and lesbians can be good parents, according to Pew. Even younger conservative Christians are less resistant to gay marriage than their parents and grandparents, polls show — with just 44 percent of them opposing those unions.

(Familiarity has also helped to change the views of some older Americans. Note the conversion of Ohio’s Republican Sen. Rob Portman, who now supports gay marriage. Portman recently announced that he had shifted from the opposing view after learning that his son, Will, is gay.)

As an adult who grew up when gays and lesbians were still shunned and shamed, I’ll admit to having been pleasantly surprised by the views of some of my students. One — a young woman who described herself as conservative — told me she is not troubled by the notion of gay marriage because “it doesn’t have anything to do with me.”

That principle ought to be a bedrock of conservative/libertarian philosophy, the underpinning of its suspicion of an intrusive government. But that’s not the way many older conservatives see it. They have fused their religious views with their political ideology, resulting in a curious and confusing philosophy that supports government intervention in the lives of people whose values they disagree with.

  • Hopefully older Americans will abandon their prejudices, embrace the values that prevail in our rapidly changing world, and join their young.

    • WhutHeSaid

      Either that or they will become bitter relics of a bygone time, bemoaning reality instead of embracing it. Memories of the past are fine, but one must live in the here and now.

      • plc97477

        Did you notice as you wrote that that you were describing the gop.

  • howdidisraelget200nukes

    This article is complete bunk. A majority of American “adults” accepted the fat that people are different decades ago. The idots in washington are the ones that need to be educated.

    Thanks for the worthless diatribe.

    Subject for your next article:

    America is amazed that now dogs even like gays!

  • empiremed

    There’s a heated debate going on in this country about marriage—and at times, it’s less than civil.

    Heritage’s William E. Simon Fellow, Ryan Anderson, faced a verbal firing squad on Piers Morgan Live this week, as Morgan and guest host Suze Orman told him that he was one of the few people “still” holding a traditional view of marriage between a man and a woman.

    Obviously, that’s not true. Citizens of 41 states continue to affirm marriage as it has been through history, and thousands joined the March for Marriage in Washington, D.C., this week to attest to the fact.

    But emotionally charged discussions can be uncomfortable—even if you’re not on national television. To foster reasoned debate, The Heritage Foundation and other allies have produced a booklet that explains why maintaining the definition of marriage matters for children and for limited government.

    We should welcome debates like these, and that’s why the Supreme Court should not cut it off. It should uphold the marriage laws before it right now and allow the American people to continue to make marriage policy. Judicial restraint respects the democratic process.

    That democratic process is possible because all Americans also enjoy liberty of conscience. This is exactly why we have religious freedom—so that we can live out and voice our beliefs without the fear that the government is going to restrict us. It’s so basic to our way of life that we take it for granted.

    “We have so much religious freedom here that we’re like a fish who doesn’t know what water is,” says author Eric Metaxas. Metaxas, author of Bonhoeffer and Amazing Grace, spoke on the centrality of religious freedom at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) this month.

    Just as a fish doesn’t notice water until it is taken away, we often assume our religious liberty until it is threatened. In the past few years, Americans have stood up against government intrusions that threaten to erode our First Amendment freedoms, speaking out against Obamacare’s Health and Human Services mandate. And while tolerance is supposed to be one of the liberal virtues, it has often been lacking in the public conversation.

    But we are having the conversations. Where religious liberty is threatened in our society, people are calling attention to it. In many countries, people of faith are imprisoned, tortured, and killed for speaking out. Our Constitution protects us from such horrors.

    This week marks holy observances for Christians and Jews. It is a fitting time to consider the fact that we have the freedom to celebrate holy days, live alongside people of all faiths, and openly debate the issues that are most important to us.

    • charleo1

      The heated debate is over. The marriage policy needs to reflect the
      Right to pursue one’s happiness, and be treated equally under the law.
      The only liberty being threatened here, is by the people who think it’s
      proper to put someone else’s Civil Rights up for a vote. When they are
      guaranteed by the Constitution, for this group, just as they are for all
      Americans, and should be held sacrosanct. I don’t think people who
      seek to limit the liberty of other citizens, who are just as law abiding,
      just as important, just as tax paying, as every other American. Should
      have their Rights abridged, because some Conservatives, feel the
      way they live their lives, is morally Superior. Especially when they’ve
      shown themselves to be every bit as capable of immorality, as the rest.
      I think this is where some of the reputation for intolerance, the Right
      has earned, comes from. Don’t you? They talk equality, but when
      people of the Muslim faith would like a place to gather, well, it was too
      close to ground zero, for this group. Who cherish their religious freedom,
      above all else. See? That’s intolerance. It’s ugly, and people are getting
      fed up with it. In other words, the Country is getting intolerant of intolerance.

      • empiremed

        Are you intolerant of Christians and Christianity?

        • charleo1


          • empiremed

            Are you tolerent enough to allow them their own believes without the interference of government?

          • charleo1

            Absolutely. Christians may believe whatever they choose.
            As long as that belief doesn’t include using the government,
            and the power of the State, to infringe upon my Rights, or
            limit my choices, or in any way, presume to compel me to
            live my life in accordance with any extra-Constitutional moral
            code. Regardless of how much better off they may feel society
            would be. Or, if some feel it’s their duty to fight immorality, and
            sin. Then, start with mine, or this group of of people, they
            don’t think is living up to their standards. And by their estimation,
            worth abridging, the Rights of others for. Or tinkering with, or amending the Constitution, to their liking. And when someone objects or wonders out loud, why, if they are going to be
            active in politics, why does the agenda they’re promoting look
            so different than the one Jesus went out and demonstrated
            in His ministry, and taught, as He related to man, the will of God?
            So, nobody’s supposed to notice they vote and promote people that
            begrudge feeing the poor? Or, don’t care if sick people are tended.
            As Jesus admonished the crowd gathered to stone the prostitute.
            By reminding all of those feeling morally superior, they are not
            without sin. So, yes. I believe Christians are entitled to believe as
            they will. I also think personally, many have lost their spiritual
            way. But I’ll not be asking the government to enact any laws
            to help them find it. They would probably resent such an attempt
            as an egregious infringement of their religious freedoms.

          • empiremed

            What rights have they infringed upon?

          • charleo1

            You know this. They’ve infringed, and still infringe on the
            LGBT, groups. Even soldiers putting their lives on the line,
            find their government cares so little about their life partners,
            whether it’s base housing, insurance, or death benefits, or
            something as fundamental as the respect of notifying their
            partners, as next of kin, after dying for their Country.
            All forbidden by DOMA. And DADT before that. Militant and authoritarian, the Christian Right, think nothing of denying the Civil Rights of millions of citizens. While claiming marriage, and it’s tax,
            and inheritance advantages, are just for their kind of marriage. Just for them.
            And feel not the least bit concerned, they have no reason, or
            Constitutional authority, to deny such Rights. Other than their
            own inflated sense of their piety. Blind ideologues, with their own
            agenda. It having never occurred to them, their actions, if successful, weakens those fundamental Rights, for all. If they may be abridged
            for such a purely ideological, and frivolous reason.
            Because the day will come, when another pious group of moralizers, will piggy back in, with their own bunch of authoritarian zealots.
            And, what happens to their special Rights then?

  • Siegfried Heydrich

    This is one of the issues that is strangling the GOP in its own hate. It would be one thing of the conservative opposition were reasoned and civil, but the hatred, homophobia, and vicious, insulting, vile rhetoric they employ in place of rational discourse is a very large part of what’s driving the young away from the GOP. On virtually every blog post regarding SSM, you’ll get some troglodyte jumping and screaming homophobic slurs. Young people read this, are disgusted, and that forms a great deal of the basis for their rejection of of the conservative brand. To them, it’s ‘the crazy old folks throwing temper tantrums’.

    As long as the GOP stands for nothing and against everything, they will continue to lose ground. As well they deserve.

  • The kids are part of the 49%’ers. THEY are discriminated against by the rich grey haired old white guys.
    One thing is for sure, we only have to wait & the rich grey haired old white guys will die…hopefully soon.
    And remember kiddies, never argue with a moron, some people can’t tell the difference.

    • ralphkr

      Unfortunately, by the time the current rich grey haired old white guys die out the current youngsters shall be the new rich grey haired old guys filled with hate and envy.

      • Pretty difficult to become rich when we’re off shoring our jobs to slave labor in the east.

      • Michael Kollmorgen

        Unfortunately you are completely correct.

        I am from what was called The Flower Child Generation. In my generation, we all had great goals, very progressive libertarian views. Yes, much of it was drug-induced. But, every generation has their drug of choice, their own poison for lack of better words.

        We admonished our parents as being stick in the muds, old fashioned, past their time. Years later many of us gave up our original goals and hopes only to become our parents, just as hypocritical, maybe moreso.

        Our parents failed miserably. We failed miserably as well. And, now, we are raising another generation to replace us, all with the same problems.

        Is there no end to this? There does seem to be cracks opening up in the Old Guard, the old Status Quo. My generation fathered children who are now fathering their own children. I hope this new generation doesn’t fail, just as my fathers generation hoped the best for my generation.

        My fathers generation is dieing off little by little. My generation is posed to start doing the same in the next few years.

        I hope we all are replaced with something better than we were. So far, history is starting to prove it repeats itself. I hope not.

  • rustacus21

    I personally am still wary of depending on the opinion of ‘young people’, as they don’t have experience enuff to decipher what happened at Penn St. & the threat to children by preditory adults, or the fact that what’s really at issue is not marriage, but cohabitation rights. In a crisis (dividing assests, rights to access of children between a couple, settling estates matters, etc.) most especially. This is a tricky situation & one that may require a completely different category than ‘barging in’ on the institution of marriage, when this is a domain of men & women, as ordained by God. I understand that ‘some’ gays feel it within them to be so. But there is a fad-like inclination of late, as the gay ‘lifestyle’ is all the rage in the media now. I totally DISAGREE that young children are exposed to such… situations, when ‘natural’ parents have time enuff dealing w/other life issues, then having to explain to a 5-10 yr olds, the ‘circumstances’ around male/male or female/female relationships. These are not the sort of sexual issues we need our children wrestling w/at such early ages. All it does is spark curiosities above & beyond what is ‘normal’, ‘typical’ or ‘healthy’ for children these ages. I’m not anti-gay by any stretch. But the verdict is still out as to the moral & divine implications. After all, permissive parents are constantly dealing w/their conscience after the fact in many a devastating aftermath. We adults are suppose to offer guidance is all I’m saying…