So, gay marriage advocates had a bad day in North Carolina yesterday. Or did they? Roughly 40% of voters came out and voted against an amendment to ban same-sex unions. 40% acceptance is a pretty amazing figure considering that 30 years ago, if there had been google, and if you'd googled the phrase "same sex marriage" you would have gotten probably zero hits. The idea was not only not being debated thirty years ago, it wasn't even a thing people knew would be a debate.
As much as same sex marriage advocates promote the idea as a fundamental human right, the reality is we are asking for a radical change in human thinking. We are asking society to officially sanction a relationship model that has never been accepted before recent decades. We honestly don't know what changes will come to society by adopting this new idea. I'm optimistic that most changes will be positive, but I'm also certain there are unknown unknowns.
For instance, gay marriage could have the perverse effect of eliminating homosexuality. Assuming that homosexuality is a genetic trait, it's being passed down from generation to generation. Until recent decades, societal pressures have forced majorities of homosexuals to hide their true natures. Countless homosexuals get married to opposite sex partners and have children. This keeps the genes for homosexuality in the genetic pool.
But, if homosexuals no longer enter into show marriages with opposite sex partners, economic forces will reduce the number of children they have, since reproducing will require surrogate mothers, sperm donors, etc. If gays aren't passing on their genes because they now marry same sex partners, we could see a decline in homosexuality over generations.
I obviously don't know that this will happen. It's difficult to make predictions, especially about the future, if I may borrow a phrase. I'm just saying that it's not irrational for society to be slow to enthusiastically embrace a change of this magnitude.
But, one prediction I will make is that the future looks good for gay marriage. I just googled some stats. In 1988, the first year there were reliable polls on this issue, opposition to same sex unions was at 75%, and only about 15% were in favor. Today, nationally, the issue is very close to 50/50. North Carolina is part of the Bible Belt, so it's not surprising that it's 40/60 here, unless the surprise is that 40% of the citizens seem ready to say yes to the idea after so few years of the topic being in the public debate.
Assuming that 5% of the population warms to the idea each decade, even NC is only 20 years away from a tipping point. Anything that can be made illegal by a vote can be made legal by a vote. I recognize that, if you are gay, you have good reason to be disgusted and angered by the thought of having to wait another 20 years for legally sanctioned marriages in North Carolina. I would encourage you to turn this anger into a positive energy. Think about all the "vote against" signs you saw in people's yards over the last month. Momentum is building for your goals.
Are there bigots out there standing in your way? Yes. But you don't need to change the opinions of bigots. You need to change the opinions of ten to twenty percent of people who oppose same sex marriage out of simple momentum. You need to appeal to their hearts and minds, make your case that what you want is a positive change not just for you, but for everyone. Advocates have made astonishing progress in only a few decades. Keep moving forward. We've evidence that minds can change. Our greatest weapons in this war are reason and time.