SSM Roundup

Douthat last year:

But there’s another possibility, in which the oft-invoked analogy between opposition to gay marriage and support for segregation in the 1960s South is pushed to its logical public-policy conclusion. In this scenario, the unwilling photographer or caterer would be treated like the proprietor of a segregated lunch counter, and face fines or lose his business — which is the intent of recent legal actions against a wedding photographer in New Mexico, a florist in Washington State, and a baker in Colorado.

Meanwhile, pressure would be brought to bear wherever the religious subculture brushed up against state power. Religious-affiliated adoption agencies would be closed if they declined to place children with same-sex couples. (This has happened in Massachusetts and Illinois.) Organizations and businesses that promoted the older definition of marriage would face constant procedural harassment, along the lines suggested by the mayors who battled with Chick-fil-A. And, eventually, religious schools and colleges would receive the same treatment as racist holdouts like Bob Jones University, losing access to public funds and seeing their tax-exempt status revoked.

Matt sounding a similar note:

There is no room for naivety about our current cultural crisis. Only within the evangelical world naivety is the dominant problem. Young evangelicals who are increasingly sympathetic to their cause want to make nice with gay marriage while supporting religious liberty, but until we are given arguments for how they can coexist given our current legal and political history, we have no more reason to think that is possible than that we could unwind marriage from politics altogether (which is the ultimate libertarian fantasyland). The people who are now shouting about “religion-based bigotry” may be outliers now, but if Frank Bruni has his way they’ll be the future of the movement. After all, Rachel Held Evans thinks that conservatives have blood on their hands.  If that’s not sufficient reason to do whatever it takes to eradicate such views, I don’t know what is.

So while it’s nice that Jonathan Merritt recognizes Bruni’s “strong-arm tactics” are “deeply troubling,” a careful reader will observe that he does not object to Bruni’s construal of the backwardness of religious conservatives. In fact, Merritt’s main argument against Bruni is that he’s going to embolden conservative evangelicals by framing them as persecuted. Apparently Merritt thinks its better to be nice to us so that none of us say anything, ever. With friends like these

Don’t miss his special feature essay on same-sex marriage.

Dreher’s “Sex and Christianity” piece is worth revisiting:

Twenty years ago, new president Bill Clinton stepped on a political landmine when he tried to fulfill a campaign promise to permit gay soldiers to serve openly. Same-sex marriage barely registered as a political cause; the country was then three years away from the Defense of Marriage Act and four years from comedian Ellen DeGeneres’s prime-time coming out.

Then came what historians will one day recall as a cultural revolution. Now we’re entering the endgame of the struggle over gay rights and the meaning of homosexuality. Conservatives have been routed, both in court and increasingly in the court of public opinion. It is commonly believed that the only reason to oppose same-sex marriage is rank bigotry or for religious reasons, neither of which—the argument goes—has any place in determining laws or public standards.

The magnitude of the defeat suffered by moral traditionalists will become ever clearer as older Americans pass from the scene. Poll after poll shows that for the young, homosexuality is normal and gay marriage is no big deal—except, of course, if one opposes it, in which case one has the approximate moral status of a segregationist in the late 1960s.

The NYT reports on what the ruling may mean for religious schools:

Conservative religious schools all over the country forbid same-sex relationships, from dating to couples’ living in married-student housing, and they fear they will soon be forced to make a wrenching choice. If theSupreme Court this month finds a constitutional right to same-sex marriage, the schools say they will have to abandon their policies that prohibit gay relationships or eventually risk losing their tax-exempt status.

The religious schools are concerned that if they continue to ban gay relationships, the Internal Revenue Service could take away their tax-exempt status as a violation of a “fundamental national public policy” under the reasoning of a 1983 Supreme Court decision that allowed the agency to revoke the tax-exempt status of schools that banned interracial relationships.

The Weekly Standard explains why “you will be made to care”:

It began at the most elementary factual level: How many Americans are gay? For decades, gay-rights activists pushed the line that 1 out of every 10 people is homosexual. This statistic belied all evidence but was necessary in order to imbue the cause with a sense of ubiquity and urgency. The public fell so hard for this propaganda that in 2012 Gallup did a poll asking people what percentage of the country they thought was gay. The responses were amazing. Women and young adults were the most gullible, saying, on average, that they thought 30 percent of the population was gay. The average American thought that 24 percent of the population—one quarter—was gay. Only 4 percent of respondents said they thought homosexuals made up less than 5 percent of the population.

But even 5 percent turns out to be an exaggeration. The best research to date on American sexual preference is a 2014 study from the Centers for Disease Control with a monster sample of 34,557 adults. It found that 96.6 percent of Americans identified as heterosexual, 1.6 percent identified as gay or lesbian, and 0.7 percent as bisexual. The percentage of gays and lesbians isn’t much higher than the percentage of folks who refused to answer the question (1.1 percent).

Then there’s the matter of the roots of homosexuality. Important to the narrative behind the same-sex marriage movement has been the insistence that sexual orientation is genetically determined and not a choice. But now that same-sex marriage is a reality, some activists are admitting that this view might not, strictly speaking, be true. For instance, in the avant-garde webzine n+1, Alexander Borinsky argued that sexuality is a characteristic to be actively constructed by the self. He was making a philosophical argument from the safety of gay marriage’s now-dominant position. Others were less philosophical and more practical. Here, for instance, is how the dancer and writer Brandon Ambrosino tackled the subject in the New Republic in January 2014:

[I]t’s time for the LGBT community to start moving beyond genetic predisposition as a tool for gaining mainstream acceptance of gay rights. .  .  .

For decades now, it’s been the most powerful argument in the LGBT arsenal: that we were “born this way.” .  .  .Still, as compelling as these arguments are, they may have outgrown their usefulness. With most Americans now in favor of gay marriage, it’s time for the argument to shift to one where genetics don’t matter. The genetic argument has boxed us into a corner.

It’s always a little unsettling when a movement that claims the mantle of truth, liberty, and equality starts openly admitting its arguments are mere “tools” to be wielded for their “usefulness.” But that’s where the movement is these days. Remember when proponents of same-sex marriage mocked people who suggested that creating a right to same-sex “marriage” might weaken the institution of marriage itself: How could my gay marriage possibly affect your straight marriage? Those arguments have outlived their usefulness, too.