George W. Bush deserves a crumb of credit for the historic success of the same-sex marriage movement in the last half-decade.
By making a Constitutional amendment banning “gay marriage” a centerpiece of his 2004 re-election campaign, Bush helped America see that opposition to marriage equality was like most of his policies: a cowardly distraction.
Less than a decade later, even the most backward conservatives are beginning to recognize that proponents of same-sex marriage are blessed with unbeatable strategic advantages that have all been nurtured by a triumphant LGBT movement that will be studied, revered and imitated for generations.
The once well-funded opposition to gay rights sees more and more that it isn’t in their economic interest to continue opposing the inevitable. It won’t win them big elections as it did in 2004, and the amount of money they can raise off people’s fear of change is dwindling every day.
Big oil will never give up on opposing climate science because their profits depend on it. If the NRA lets any gun safety legislation through, it hurts their credibility with the gun industry funders. But the growing consensus against a federal ban on same-sex marriage, even on the right, has religious conservatives recognizing that their money is better spent pursuing their agenda in red states, where they actually have a chance of winning.
A huge advantage for those on the side of equal marriage is that there is no actual rational argument against it.
Any opposition to letting LGBT couples marry is clearly grounded in religious bigotry, based on the same kind of selective reading of the Bible once employed by slaveowners and racists.
Few elected Republicans — except the likes of Louie Gohmert (R-TX) — are willing to make the ridiculously offensive argument that same-sex marriage will lead to polygamy, incest and bestiality. Now it’s mostly left to the pro-wrestling wing of the GOP — Dr. Ben Carson and Breitbarts-in-training like Ben Shapiro — to suggest that a legal contract between two consenting, non-related adults has perverse implications.
Arguing that including homosexuals in the rights of marriage will lead to moral decay makes as much sense as saying that heterosexual marriages will lead to underage marriage or bigamy. It only reveals that you think being gay is basically akin to criminal act, which is an argument that only openly bigoted people make, often with the help of neo-Nazi “research.”
“Serious” Republicans — like those who argued against equal marriage in the Supreme Court — are stuck with suggesting that marriage is essentially for childbirth and childrearing, thus restrictions can be applied to homosexuals (but not barren or mature heterosexual couples, for some completely non-bigoted reason).
Of course, marriage being for childrearing isn’t an argument against equal marriage, it’s an argument to let millions of gay parents marry.
I predict homophobia will not have the staying power as a national issue that racism and misogyny enjoy. The “Southern Strategy” of opposing “big government” that helps “them” will go on for decades. Misogyny continues to feed the urge to create a double bind for women by destroying access to family planning and abortion.
But homophobia is only truly effective when gay people can’t self-identify and self-advocate.
Rob Portman (R-OH) was able to oppose gay rights until his son helped him see how cruel it is to deny equality to someone he loved who happened to be born gay. That’s something Portman and a majority of the U.S. Senate now understands.
Only four Democrats in the U.S. Senate haven’t joined that majority. All of them represent red states and two of them — Mary Landrieu (D-LA) and Mark Pryor (D-AR) — are up for re-election next year.
Pryor’s contortions in opposing gay marriage are political, but if he’s being honest, they’re also revealing.
“I would put me down in the undecided category,” Pryor told KFSM 5 News. “I did talk with some friends of mine in the gay and lesbian community over the last week or so. We talked about this issue. We also talked about a question I received in the office not too long ago where they asked whether being gay was a choice or whether you were born that way. I told them, I said, ‘Honestly I’ve never really thought a lot about that.'”
LOL. A sad, pained LOL.
Recognizing that gay people aren’t “choosing” their identity has become a key aspect in a nation coming to terms with LGBT rights. The idea that gay kids would willingly step into a life where they’re far more likely to be homeless, then victimized and suicidal, is absurd to those who have actually thought about it.
If you think being gay is a choice, you must be willing to consider it. Would Mark Pryor choose to marry a man?
This is an issue that anyone who has spent any time thinking about figures out pretty quickly, which leads us to the last advantage of marriage equality proponents: the generational divide.
For those under 65, same-sex marriage is barely controversial. They’ve thought about it and recognize that we have better things to do than to pick on our fellow citizens because they happened to fall in love and want to be married.
Anyone who is paying attention recognizes that the opposition to marriage equality is literally dying. The only choice is when people like Mark Pryor choose to be on the right side of history.