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12/30/2010

Whether aboard elephant or donkey, 'culture war' wall-writing is easy to see

by Jeremy Hooper

More and more Republicans are admitting that regardless of their own personal feelings on the subject, LGBT civil rights are clearly headed in one easily discernible pattern. A pattern that will surly remain mired in some level of a culture war swamp for the foreseeable future, but that will undeniably make professional anti-gay activists look silly (At best) for wasting so much time on a fight they were never meant to win.

This from conservative pundit Michael Barone:

On gay rights, we also see something in the nature of a truce. Polls suggest majority support for Congress’s repeal of the ban on open Screen Shot 2010-12-30 At 2.26.24 Pmgays in the military, and the Marine Corps commandant, who opposed the change, promised to work hard to implement it.

Same-sex marriage is accepted in Massachusetts and nearly gained majority support in referenda in Maine and California. But many states have passed constitutional amendments banning it. It is unlikely to pass muster with voters or legislators in most of the South anytime soon, if only because most black voters are opposed (blacks voted 70 percent against it in California).

There’s a sharp difference between old and young voters on same-sex marriage, and my guess is that young voters will continue to favor it by wide margins as they grow older — but maybe not. In the meantime, discrimination against or disparagement of gays and lesbians is increasingly frowned on by larger and larger majorities.

A Truce in Culture Wars as Voters Focus on Economy [National Review Online]

We would add that as discrimination and disparagement decrease, the already-unlikely chance that young people will grow older and swing more conservative on marriage equality concurrently dwindles. Because we're not talking about a mere policy matter or fiscal issue, subjects where opinions do sometimes change in accordance with life experience. When we talk about equality, we are talking about people. Neighbors. Friends. Loved ones. Roommates. Talk show hosts.

Among the current crop of young people, there are very few who can say they've grown up without knowing an LGBT human being. When considering this, the familiar mantra surely rings true: When they know us, they don't vote against us.

As for the one area where Barone sees potential for delayed progress: marriage in Southern states? Well, it likely won't matter any way, as it's highly likely that this conversation will ultimately decided by the courts, where minority rights are not, should not, and will not be stymied by majority resistance. And In fact, continued resistance in the face of court victories will only help to highlight how wrong-headed it is to use personal, largely faith-based condemnations to stop equal protection and due process. There will be more actual dialogue which will shush down the contrived talking points.

When we have these important conversations, we win. And by "we," that means everyone who's ready to put these tired, offensive, personally weakening conversations behind us so that we can move on and discuss actual societal issues. Like that new show where the brides compete for plastic surgery.

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