Debating same-sex marriage: An issue far from being over

The Sept. 8 edition of The Hatchet contains an article discussing The National Organization for Marriage’s new presence in Washington and their intention of fighting any same-sex marriage proposals that may arise in the area this year. Michael Komo, the current president of Allied in Pride, is quoted as follows:

“I suppose the NOM is not paying attention to the growing support nationwide for marriage equality. The Organization is fighting a losing battle. Attitudes are changing. People are realizing that this is a matter of equality.”

Undoubtedly, the pivotal question for a social conservative or a skeptic to pose in response is: Is Mr. Komo correct in his assessment of national opinion on this issue? I would argue no.

Many of the parents of GW students are baby boomers. They grew up in the heat of the counterculture where “free love” was embraced and traditional Judeo-Christian values were widely rejected and discarded. Maggie Gallagher, the president of NOM, described the baby boomers’ belief that “nobody would be pro-life once all the old folks died off, and that no mothers would be home with children.”

I propose that this same sort of false assumption regarding the inevitability of social progressivism and the expulsion of traditional values is currently underway in the gay marriage movement. The coming years will prove to be just as difficult, as the issue is far – very far – from being over.

One of the most prevalent arguments for gay marriage is that it is inevitable. That, as Bob Dylan might say, “the times, they are a-changing.” Many suggest that our generation accepts gay marriage overwhelmingly and therefore it is a battle that will be surely won in due time. This claim is not substantiated. Since 2001, Gallup has asked teenagers (ages 13-17) whether they “approve or disapprove of marriages between homosexuals.” Between 2003 and 2004, teens’ approval of same-sex marriage dropped 6 percentage points, while the proportion that disapproved rose 8 percentage points. In the most recent poll (August 2004), American teens opposed gay marriage by a 27-point margin, 63 percent to 36 percent.

Moreover, major issues with same-sex marriage have yet to be tackled, including the question posed in a recent Washington Blade story: “What about religious adoption agencies or daycare centers? Will they be forced to accommodate gays?”

As the article reports, “(e)xperts say organizations that receive state and federal funding will not be allowed to oppose working with gays for religious reasons. Some, most notably Catholic Charities of Boston, have opted to get out of the adoption business rather than be forced to allow gays to adopt.” Is a reduction in charitable adoption agencies a positive for civil society?

The fact of the matter is, we don’t know how the gay marriage battle will turn out. Only five states have legalized gay marriage, and 27 states have voted to protect marriage between a man and a woman. This is hardly reason to proclaim a nationwide trend toward gay marriage rights. Will members of our generation, generalized as social liberals, enact legislation for same-sex marriages? Or will we become more socially conservative as we grow older while the marriage battle continues to wage on?

Either way, Allied in Pride has their work cut out for them, as NOM is a major organization led by a prominent and effective activist. This will continue to be a tough fight, and for now, the gay movement is losing. NOM has majority legislation and national opinion on their side.

The wrtier, a junior majoring in political science, is the Editor-at-Large of the GW Young America’s Foundation blog.

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