Why Gay Marriage Will Win, and Sexual Freedom Will Lose


This is certainly a different take.  I think that morality does go in cycles from generally permissive to the other extreme.  We’ve been a toward more permissiveness cycle most or all of my life.  I’m not sure that I see gay marriage as the crest of the tide as is suggested here though.

In some sense, it doesn’t really matter how the Supreme Court rules on the gay marriage case it’s hearing today.  The culture war is over on this front, and gay marriage has won.  Even if it loses at the Supreme Court this term, it will win in the legislatures . . . because it is already winning in popular opinion.  Few people much under the age of sixty see a compelling reason that straights should marry and gays should not.  For that matter, my Republican grandfather is rumored to have said, at the age of 86, “I think gays should marry!  We’ll see how much they like it, though.”

At this point, it’s just a matter of time.  In some sense, the sexual revolution is over . . . and the forces of bourgeois repression have won.

That’s right, I said it: this is a landmark victory for the forces of staid, bourgeois sexual morality.  Once gays can marry, they’ll be expected to marry.  And to buy sensible, boring cars that are good for car seats.  I believe we’re witnessing the high water mark for “People should be able to do whatever they want, and it’s none of my business.”  You thought the fifties were conformist?  Wait until all those fabulous “confirmed bachelors” and maiden schoolteachers are expected to ditch their cute little one-bedrooms and join the rest of America in whining about crab grass, HOA restrictions, and the outrageous fees that schools want to charge for overnight soccer trips.

I know, it feels like we’re riding an exciting wave away from the moral dark ages and into the bright, judgement free future.  But moral history is not a long road down which we’re all marching; it’s more like a track.  Maybe you change lanes a bit, but you generally end up back where you started.  Sometimes you’re on the licentious, “anything goes” portion near the bleachers, and sometimes you’re on the straight-and-narrow prudish bit in front of the press box.  Most of the time you’re in between.  But you’re still going in circles.  Victorian morality was an overreaction to the rather freewheeling period which proceeded it, which was itself an overreaction to Oliver Cromwell’s puritanism.  (Cromwell actually did declare a War on Christmas, which he deemed to be sensuous paganism.)

Why Gay Marriage Will Win, and Sexual Freedom Will Lose
Megan McArdle
Tue, 26 Mar 2013 15:30:00 GMT

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