Gay Marriage, For and Against: Leaders in Crisis

The gay marriage debate is heating up with the Supreme Court considerations, and leaders are stepping up, battening the hatches and treading water in an effort to understand this transformational moment.

Whatever the result of the deliberations, we’re witnessing a major challenge to politicians and activists reacting to the public discussion.

(If you want to listen to the full audio transcript before or after you read these cultural soundbytes, click here….)

Seemingly impossible changes of opinion are happening in the most unlikely places…

“Speaking to Megyn Kelly about the Supreme Court’s hearing on Proposition 8, O’Reilly–who has previously compared gay marriage to bestiality–appeared to have “evolved” on the subject. He said he didn’t “feel that strongly” about gay marriage “one way or another” and thought the decision should be left to individual states. “I want all Americans to be happy,” he said, adding, “I live in New York. New York is fine with it.” From the Huffington Post, On Media.)

And a kind of dogmatic and resigned concern for new political realities comes one watchdog of the far right…

Rush Limbaugh said:

“A lot of people have no personal animus against gay people at all. It’s instead, you know, a genuine, I don’t know, love/respect for the things they believe define this country as great. [They are simply worried about words and what they mean and tradition and the purpose of marriage, and it’s a real thing.]  They get up every day and they see all this stuff under attack. They see it all under assault. And I think they’re just worried about the survivability of the country. And to which the opponents say, “Well, the country’s changing and you better get with it and understand it because this genie’s not getting put back in the bottle.” And I think that’s right. I don’t care what this court does with this particular ruling, Proposition 8. I think the inertia is clearly moving in the direction that there is going to be gay marriage at some point nationwide.

Now, the political ramifications of that are yet to be known. I mean, the Republican Party, for example, could be looking at its ultimate demise here, depending on how it deals with this. Because they do have multiple millions of voters who are evangelical Christians who on religious grounds alone don’t support homosexual marriage and are not going to support a political party that does.  So then the Republicans in that circumstance would be faced, if you were to lose multiple millions of voters over this, they are going to have to replace them somewhere. How do they do it? Do they try to siphon off most of the gay vote that’s going to the Democrats?” (See full transcript of this 3/27/13 show…)

In response to the discussion, supporters of gay marriage articulate the same argument about building on American moral and legal tradition from the other side of the table…

Democrat Representative Jim Moran writes: “In addition to being the truly ‘pro-family’ position, marriage equality is an issue that tests our nation’s fidelity to our fundamental values. The Declaration of Independence affirms that ‘all men are created equal’ and that every American has a right to ‘the pursuit of happiness.’ Surely these principles cannot be fulfilled without the ability to marry the person you love.” Read more…

And manufacturers and advertisers are making their opinions clear as they reach out to the markets they think will drive their profit margins high. (This being one way leadership works in a market economy, after all…)

Just two family companies reaching out to new gay families…

JC Penney:

JCPenney Ad

JCPenney Ad

Target:

Target Ad

Target Ad

While a whole new market is being created for anti-gay-marriage consumers by openly Christian companies who emphasize the heterosexual family…

Tyson foods ad

Tyson foods ad

It’s a fascinating time. Let’s pay attention, and see what the leaders we care about do and say next!

2 comments

  1. […] this is a new twist on the story — here’s an athlete at the top of his game challenging cultural ideas about sexuality at the very moment gay marriage is topping the charts of … and demonstrating that masculinity and virtuoso athletics are not merely heterosexual. It’s a […]

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  2. […] Jason Collin’s decision to come out was risky because his authentic identity might not be good marketing. So far, it turns out he might be a good enough athlete to weather any backlash, and there might not be too much public backlash because of the cultural change increasing tolerance for gays and lesbians. […]

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