...and how it perverts the natural order of things...
The New York Times had an article called "Adversaries on Gay Rights Vow State-by-State Fight" which describes the probability that since the recent decision by the Supreme Court in the Lawrence vs Texas case Slate article which overturned a Texas anti-sodomy law there was a galvanizing of resistance by the right wing to the idea of gay marriage not seen since Roe vs Wade.
Probably true...after all, nothing cuts quite so close to the bone, (as it were), of what really is core to the bullshit of American religiosity and cultural identity than the collective "sneer at the queer". Nearly all Americans are trained in this precept from the get go...boys learn to tell queer jokes before they even know what a queer is...and many queer kids tell queer jokes even after they realize they are one...the practical alternative being of course a fast or slow, social or literal suicide.
Trouble is though, that like all comfortable and seemingly self-evident hatreds, it eventually becomes less and less possible to reconcile day to day reality with the cliches and icons that serve as insulation against having to be rational about such things. Nothing is quite so frustrating as knowing full well that you despise something and yet cannot come up with a good reason to despise it. The best thing to do in that case is to do what Americans are expert at; ignore the facts and wave a flag or a bible in the air and continue with the reliable old fantasy that "consensus makes right".. Like it or lump it...love it or leave it...you've heard the tune.
That sort of works...for a while.
But all too soon we find ourselves having to reach for the remote more frequently because for some reason those we despise seem to be getting way too much air time. Worse we start finding ourselves having to pretend to be tolerant in public toward those we despise because locals no longer own the company we work for and the production line or office has queers we can't avoid working next to. And, like all repetitive behavior, we become inured to it so that we don't notice that we are less vigilant and tense about being in the same room with "those kind". We will ask, "Now, how did that happen?", should we become aware of it.
It doesn't matter, but a few cases of beer and/or card games later we've just about got the whole plot figured out...if its not the Jewish controlled media then its government mind control experiments gone haywire....or even the Commies...pick a demon, any demon, the sophistication level is irrelevant.
A cartoonish simplification, I know, but there's truth to it. The weapon used is empathy and the perpetrator is called social consciousness. The M.O. is to keep whispering the same idea over and over and to move so slowly that no one notices until its too late. By the time you are shouting past the police lines that you will never allow the changes being demanded, its over. The change has already taken place. That's where we are today with the gay marriage issue. The very fact that it is an issue being entertained in the media and in the highest courts in the land and argued about by plain folk in their day to day is what makes legalization of gay marriage inevitable...its just semantics now.
Social consciousness has a relentless evolution that sometimes seems almost independent of the species that harbors it. And it operates at the largest scale, across centuries and diverse cultures, always plodding seemingly forward toward some teleological goal of perfect social harmony. It cannot be resisted: The success of US civil rights movement of blacks taken against the backdrop of the deep commitment and historical momentum of the South to preserve its biases at all costs, were no match for the impetus of social change required or demanded by this "thing" I am calling social consciousness.
With that perspective I see the end result of this impending state by state battle being the same as the tumult over Roe and Wade; great gnashing of teeth, snarled threats, police line crashing, queer bashing and media cashing in. The hand in the bucket will be vigorously roiling the water around and everyone will be drawn to the spectacle of the great splashes...and then the hand will be withdrawn and the water will return to its usual state.
A decade or two later young people (and some older) will be wondering what the huge fuss was about and how could people be so ignorant "back then". Gays will have been married and divorced in every state and some other group of social outcasts will be painting up signs for their protest parade on the weekend while their adversaries are handing out leaflets declaring the natural order of things is at stake.
Never was, never is.