America’s Reversal on Gay “Marriage”
The fight over same-sex “marriage” already seems like a distant memory. But the way it was fought is the mother of all worldview lessons. According to recent surveys, Americans—especially younger generations—are more supportive of gay “marriage” than ever before. One Gallup poll revealed that a strong majority—64 percent—approve of the rights invented and bestowed on same-sex couples by the Supreme Court in the Obergefell decision. And the Barna Group recently reported that teenagers today are at least twice as likely as American adults to identify as LGBT. All of this, despite the fact that in 2011, a vast majority of U.S. states had defined marriage as the union of one man and one woman. How could it be that, in just the next four years, state after state would strike down those marriage amendments, public opinion would shift by ten points and finally, in 2015, the Obergefell decision would make everything official? At least part of the answer is found in how entertainment reshaped our collective imaginations. From “Will and Grace,” to “Glee,” to “Modern Family,” Hollywood spent years, and millions, portraying homosexuality as funny, normal, natural, and even wholesome. Around the same time, in another sphere of culture, politicians like Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton “evolved” on the issue, and their base—which was already largely pro-gay—responded with a fast and radical leftward swing. In a cultural moment, political liberals went from tolerating disagreement on marriage to demonizing anyone who still affirmed “one-man-one-woman,” as bigoted, hateful, homophobes. Business, too, played a major role in this shift. The success of the Human Rights Campaign in pressuring companies to actively promote LGBT causes is, well, incredible. And government leadership in state after state, with rare exceptions like North Carolina, caved to the corporate financial leverages that were being threatened against them. But decades before all that happened in entertainment, politics, and business, there was something else that made same-sex “marriage” basically inevitable: the formal divorce of marriage and procreation. As University of Texas sociologist Mark Regnerus has convincingly argued, “the pill” alone was enough to sever the link between sex and procreation, changing how Americans thought about love and marriage. No longer did those two things necessarily lead to that “baby in the baby carriage.” Protestants, evangelicals, and the Catholic laity mostly accepted that change without a peep of protest. The divorce of marriage and procreation led to all kinds of unintended consequences. Marriage was popularly transformed from being a nest for children to being an expression of adult feelings. And once it was no longer “about the children,” “no-fault divorce” legally redefine marriage in the law. Fast forward a few decades, removing any remaining stigmas on sexual behavior, and then terms like “husband and wife,” “mother” and “father,” and ultimately, “male and female” lost their defining power. Same-sex unions were then just a very short step away. Which brings us to today and the news that an up-and-coming generation may be the most pro-LGBT in history. Those of us who believe in God’s design for sex face a daunting task. Reversing Obergefell and rebuilding the shattered consensus on natural marriage won’t happen quickly. But here’s what we can do… First, we can help our children understand what went wrong, especially the wrong ideas about sex, marriage, happiness, and procreation that permeate our society. Second, we can help them know what’s right about God’s design for marriage, sex, and procreation. But remember, this battle was lost, not by argument, but in the imagination. And so we must embody God’s design in our marriages and in our communities. And finally, we should repent of the ways in which we embraced the deadly wrong ideas of this social revolution.