The War Over Gay Marriage Is Already Won

Over at Reason, Cathy Young wrote an uncharacteristically weak opinion piece on gay marriage, The Culture War Over Gay Marriage Is Here to Stay. Young argues that the debate over gay marriage pits traditional American values against each other — equality vs. a long-standing Judeo-Christian moral standard, for one — and because of this argues that the “culture war is here to stay.”

In fact, I think the reality is that while there are surely battles ahead, the culture war itself is already over and traditionalist conservatives lost big time. Consider Young’s analysis,

There is no question that religion has often been used to promote virulent hatred and contempt toward gays. Yet traditionalist objections to same-sex marriage include not only religious scruples but concerns about the consequences of sexual liberation that are shared by many people on secular grounds — concerns about a cultural environment in which 40 percent of children are born out of wedlock and half of all marraiges end in divorce. Is it bigoted to believe that it is ideal for children is [sic] to have a mother and a father, or to worry that same-sex marriage will further uncouple marriage from childbearing and thus make it harder to answer the questions, “Why wait for marriage before having children?”

Don’t get me wrong — these are indeed serious issues. But from a purely descriptive point of view, hardly anything is being done about this. Everyone decries the out-of-wedlock and divorce figures, but it isn’t like there is a mass movement to stigmatize low-performing heterosexuals.

Few people on the right, for example, see Newt Gingrich’s multiple divorces and apparent acts of adultery as in any way deligitimizing his criticism of gay marriage. In fact it is all but unthinkable that anyone today would propose any sort of sanctions on “illicit” heterosexual relationships that used to be common in this country.

The reality is we might strongly dislike the divorce and out-of-wedlock birth rate, but we place a much higher value on our own personal sexual freedom. And that completely undermines all of the traditional arguments about gay and lesbian sexuality which is why the last 30 years have seen barrier after barrier restricting homosexuals fall. Barring the last minute rise of some anti-sexual freedom mass movement, the culture war is already over and it is just a matter of time before gay marriage becomes legalized throughout the U.S. despite the objections of its opponents.

Leave a Reply