Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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May 16, 2004
By: Kevin Drum

GAY MARRIAGE AND THE CHRISTIAN RIGHT....The New York Times reports that the Christian Right isn't having much luck mobilizing its base to support a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage:

Opponents of gay marriage say they are puzzling over why such a volatile cultural issue is not spurring more rank-and-file conservative Christians to rise up in support of the amendment. They are especially frustrated, they say, because opinion polls show that a large majority of voters oppose gay marriage.

"Our side is basically asleep right now," Matt Daniels, founder of the Alliance for Marriage, which helped draft the proposed amendment, said in an interview last week.

The Rev. Louis P. Sheldon, chairman of the Traditional Values Coalition, said: "I don't see any traction. The calls aren't coming in and I am not sure why."

I'd like to throw out a possible explanation for this: San Francisco.

The Christian Right storyline has always been that gay marriage is a sign of moral depravity and therefore to be fought tooth and nail. But then San Francisco started performing gay marriages by the thousands. And what did everyone see?

Answer: no depravity. No Village People. Instead, what they saw on their TV screens was a bunch of ordinary people displaying a disarmingly normal exhuberance about getting married and an obviously sincere delight about holding a marriage certificate in their hands. How could you help but feel happy for them?

That's not the whole story, of course, but I think it's part of it. The apocalypse that the leaders of the Christian Right had been foaming at the mouth about finally happened, and it didn't seem so bad after all. Just a bunch of ordinary newlyweds squealing in delight at finally being married, just like everyone else. There was nothing to be afraid of after all.

What do you do when people who are supposed to be the devil's spawn turn out to be as ordinary as your next door neighbor? Maybe you decide they really are as ordinary as your next door neighbor.

Kevin Drum 3:49 PM Permalink | Trackbacks

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