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08/24/2012

Baptist columnist hopes gray hair styles less accepting minds

by Jeremy Hooper

Baptist Press columnist Penna Dexter argues that young people's support for marriage equality will drift away with age:

The fact is young voters often change their political views as they age. And some of the bad consequences of things like abortion and easy divorce cause young people to turn against them. Polls show millenials care deeply about family values. Many are forced, due to the economy, to live at home with parents longer. The happy result is, families are becoming closer. It's not farfetched that the rising millennials could come to see marriage as the cornerstone of a stable family.

Perhaps gay marriage is not inevitable? [
BP]

The major mistake that conservatives like Dexter make when they argue like this (Maggie Gallagher is also a big proponent of the "it's not inevitable" line) is that they view marriage rights for same-sex couples as just another political issue. And why not? For many of them, that's exactly what it is. This debate has been socially conservative bread and butter for the past decade or more, so they quite easily lump this conversation into the same Socia-lib-aborti-gun-"Hussein"-igrant box.

But the truth? Most younger voters don't see it that way. Yes, some college-aged progressives will eventually grow more conservative on any number of political matters. However, the idea of LGBT people, their families, their rights, and their happiness is not even in that same ballpark for most younger minds. It's much more personal. Most people under forty know quite a few gay couples and don't even consider the matter of their freedom to marry through some cable news, right vs. left conceit. For many younger minds, the very idea of this being a partisan political fight is bizarre, at best. Trust me: my husband and I routinely dine at houses where our marriage is 100% respected but "Obamacare" is not.

And then there's the idea that becoming more involved with family makes one less accepting of LGBT families and their rights. Again—NO! Yes, it might be so for someone like Penna Dexter, who is part of the Reagan era "family values" religious right that has spent the better part of three decades defining families by how many penises are in house and how many Gods are praised. But for a growing many, that charade is a non-starter. Nowadays, growing up and forming a family is much more likely to lead a person to want that same easy ability for everyone else—including his or her LGBT neighbor. For the social conservatives of the bygone Falwelian era, perhaps tightening the bond meant excluding the least heterosexual member. In this era? Modern families earn both ratings and support!

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