Friday, November 7, 2008

Same-Sex Marriage Movement Hits Cultural Brick Wall

The passage of Proposition 8 in California marks the conservative movement's silver lining for election 2008. Indeed, as the New York Times reported yesterday, Prop 8 was one of three bans on gay marriage that swept the nation in ballot contests Tuesday:

Prop 8 Protests


A giant rainbow-colored flag in the gay-friendly Castro neighborhood of San Francisco was flying at half-staff on Wednesday as social and religious conservatives celebrated the passage of measures that ban same-sex marriage in California, Florida and Arizona.

In California, where same-sex marriage had been performed since June, the ban had more than 52 percent of the vote, according to figures by the secretary of state, and was projected to win by several Californian news media outlets. Opponents of same-sex marriage won by even bigger margins in Arizona and Florida. Just two years ago, Arizona rejected a similar ban.

The across-the-board sweep, coupled with passage of a measure in Arkansas intended to bar gay men and lesbians from adopting children, was a stunning victory for religious conservatives, who had little else to celebrate on an Election Day that saw Senator John McCain lose and other ballot measures, like efforts to restrict abortion in South Dakota, California and Colorado, rejected.

“It was a great victory,” said the Rev. James Garlow, senior pastor of Skyline Church in San Diego County and a leader of the campaign to pass the California measure, Proposition 8. “We saw the people just rise up.”

The losses devastated supporters of same-sex marriage and ignited a debate about whether the movement to expand the rights of same-sex couples had hit a cultural brick wall, even at a time of another civil rights success, the election of a black president.

Thirty states have now passed bans on same-sex marriage....

The victory of the social and religious conservatives came on a core issue that has defined their engagement in politics over the past decade.

The Rev. Joel Hunter, an evangelical pastor in Florida, said many religious conservatives felt more urgency about stopping same-sex marriage than about abortion, another hotly contested issue long locked in a stalemate.

“There is enough of the population that is alarmed at the general breakdown of the family, that has been so inundated with images of homosexual relationships in all of the media,” said Mr. Hunter, who gave the benediction at the Democratic National Convention this year, yet supported the same-sex marriage ban in his state. “It’s almost like it’s obligatory these days to have a homosexual couple in every TV show or every movie.”

Supporters of the bans in California, Arizona and Florida benefited from the donations and volunteers mobilized by a broad array of churches and religious groups from across the ethnic spectrum.

The Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, a pastor in Sacramento and president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, said the campaign to pass Proposition 8 had begun with white evangelical churches but had spread to more than 1,130 Hispanic churches whose pastors convinced their members that same-sex marriage threatened the traditional family.
The repudiation of same-sex marriage initiatives dealt a crushing blow to hard-left activists of the Democratic Party. A number of top leftosphere bloggers were in fits of apoplexy over the "bigotry" of the turnout against gay-marriage. Electing the first black president wasn't revolutionary enough; total victory over the "reactionary" right demanded the privileging of a small but vocal gay-rights interest-group movement over the traditional values of the majority.

Digby, for example, decried claims of a victory for the "center-right":
The political implications are what the spinners will make of it. But these hateful propositions winning makes the victory bittersweet. How people can vote for the first African American president in American history, with all that implies, while simultaneously voting to discriminate against gays is testament to the incoherence of American politics and the lack of clear cut philosophy guiding people's choices. Everyone says there's too much ideology in our politics but I'd say there isn't enough. There isn't enough common sense either. Discrimination against others just because you don't like how they live their lives is against the very essence of the two pillars of America - liberty and equality. To fail to see that even as you vote for an historic, important first African American is incoherent.
Actually, it's not incoherent at all. Barack Obama's victory failed to constitute a landslide realignment in the American political culture. The precise nature and scale of Obama's win will be analyzed and debated for some time, but conservatives can rightly be heartened that one of their bedrock issues received phenomenal support at the polls Tuesday.

Photo Credit: Los Angeles Times, "
Prop. 8 Protesters Target Mormon Temple in Westwood."


repsac3 said...

The repudiation of same-sex marriage initiatives dealt a crushing blow to hard-left activists of the Democratic Party.

Hardly. It's sad for those who feel differently than you on the issue, but change, while slow-moving, is constant.

Electing the first black president wasn't revolutionary enough;

Electing the first black president was barely revolutionary, at all. It was a long time coming, however...

total victory over the "reactionary" right demanded the privileging of a small but vocal gay-rights interest-group movement over the traditional values of the majority.

Inalienable rights cannot be voted away. Either one has them, or one does not. Apart from religious belief--which I completely respect, as a church matter, but not as a state matter-- there is no reason to deny "marriage" to any pair of citizens.

That said, it is obvious that the time is not ripe for legislative change in favor of the right to "marry." Those so-called "activist" courts who've spoken on this issue have read the laws and seen what I and others on my side see; the rights that govern this issue are already there, and the law is designed to protect the minority from the tyranny of the majority, sometimes.

If anyone really wishes to know where I stand, they can wade through the fascinating discussion that took place here, not long after the CA court last spoke on this issue: Just a Man with his Thoughts: Homosexual Marriage (I'll eventually make it a post on my own blog... I hope...)

Anonymous said...

Reppy: Spin it how you like, but 30 states currently ban gay marriage.

And if you don't think Obama's victory was revolutionary, in the sense of historic change, you don't know American history very well.

PRH said...

Looks like the gays can't handle the fact that a majority of left leaning California says NO!

And the can't blame "hate filled bigoted" white Christians for the defeat.

Blacks voted YES by 70% to 30%, seems like the new influx of black voters doomed them.

PRH said...

In this case NO meaning YES to Gay Marriage...and YES meaning NO to Gay Marriage....think I'm getting a headache.

shoprat said...

Perhaps a small warning to the left not to get too confident.

Average American said...

Hey, people have to have their prejudices. The blacks have been elevated to equal, the illegal hispanics look like they may be elevated by NObama pretty soon, we need somebody to be prejudiced against. I guess it's the gays turn. I'm being sarcastic, but there might be some truth to it. There does seem to be some basic survival instinct that dictates having someone under you on the social ladder.