The Spectacle Blog

Cultural Loss Presages Political Defeat in the Marriage Debate

By on 7.1.11 | 12:47PM

In the wake of the "gay marriage" vote in New York, David Bass tells social and cultural cons to cheer up because, he argues, politically, we've done pretty well so far. Just "consider the numbers": 

Thirty states have amended their constitutions to protect marriage. With the exception of New England, those states encompass every region of the country -- the Pacific and mountain west, the Midwest, and the south.

By my count, at least two more states will have amendments on the ballot in 2012 - Minnesota and (likely) North Carolina. If both pass, that would take the total to 32 states, or nearly two-thirds of those in the union. (Indiana might pass one in 2014).

But here's the problem: We've won (most) political battles, but lost the culture and the argument. If current trends continue -- and there's really no reason to think that they will not -- then it's only a matter of time before "gay marriage" overtakes the nation. (And if the politicians are slow to act, you can be sure activist, left-wing courts will force their hand.)

Politics and politicians, after all, follow the culture. And there has been a concerted, decades-long effort by Hollywood and the media to legitimize homosexuality and to put same-sex relationships on a par with traditional male-female relationships.

You don't need to look at polling data to see this. Instead, look at the culture. Gay characters are celebrated and portrayed as plaster saints, and the more squalid and unhealthy aspects of the gay male lifestyle are ignored.

The popular television show, Will and Grace, for instance, has two very likeable gay male characters. Another popular television show, Glee, produces story lines that portray gay men as no different, really, than their straight male counterparts. Behavioral differences between heterosexual and homosexual men simply don't exist in Hollywood's mythical world.

This is what Maggie Gallagher means when she talks about the cultural power of the gay lobby. That power is strong, capable, sophisticated and formidable -- and on the ascent politically. Why, even Fox News has given short shrift to the marriage debate, Gallagher notes.

Our problem as conservatives has been to draw the line between tolerance and acceptance of our gay brothers and sisters (a good thing) and putting homosexuality on a social, legal and cultural par with heterosexuality (a bad thing).

Simply put, we have not been able to draw that line. When Hollywood and the media propagandize about homosexuality -- which they do incessantly -- we have been left defenseless. Consequently, misplaced notions of "rights" and "equality" have quickly overwhelmed the reasonable and modest notion that society should affirm a traditional sexual ethic and historic understanding of marriage.

I don't suggest that this means we should give up; far from it. As a deeply fallen and sinful Catholic, I must believe in miracles, even political miracles. And even if we lose the larger-scale culture war, we might still win important battles involving religious liberty.

But Focus on the Family's Jim Daly has it right: Although we're winning the younger generation on abortion, we're losing them on same-sex marriage.

65 to 70 percent of [20- and 30-somethings] favor same-sex marriage. I don't know if that's going to change with a little more age -- demographers would say probably not. We've probably lost that. I don't want to be extremist here, but I think we need to start calculating where we are in the culture."

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