Monday, January 7, 2013
How did we win on gay marriage?
I've been thinking a lot about the quick change in public opinion over gay marriage. I think it's fascinating. There is no other hot-button issue in my lifetime that has evolved so quickly. How did it happen?
We had TV shows like Will & Grace, Ellen, and Rosie that may have softened the opposition, but there must be more to it than that. Maybe it was just more and more people coming out of the closet, showing their heterosexual friends, colleagues, and acquaintances that their homosexuality is nothing to fear.
The rapid change was certainly not due to high-profile leadership in support of gay marriage. On the other hand, there was plenty of high-profile leadership voicing opposition. It makes me wonder...is it possible that Fred Phelps, Pat Robertson, etc. were not only ineffective messengers, but so repellent that they inadvertently helped the very cause they opposed? I have no data, but I love that hypothesis.
In any case, it seems like a great topic for sociologists to study. Political strategists too. If we can figure out how we won on gay marriage, maybe we can figure out how to win on other issues as well.