Looking Back To Virtually Normal

Maria Popova gives my early writing on the politics of homosexuality – from 1993 on – the classic Brain Pickings treatment. I met Maria at a recent PaidContent panel and immediately fell in love with her – not sexually, of course, but as kindred spirit. She still retains the spirit and energy of the early blogosphere – because she does what she does because she loves it. That’s all. No pageview counting, no SEO gaming, no “sponsored content” shenanigans – just her enthusiasm for reading writers. Yep: writers. Not content-producers. Writers.

One way of looking at my first book – written in 1994, when I thought I might have only a few years left – is to look at how the discourse has changed on homosexuality since then – and especially how the core issues of the military and marriage made possible a new paradigm for gay equality. This was fiercely resisted at the time by many in the gay movement itself, and I became something of a pariah. Eventually, they got it.

Here’s Gallup’s long graph of political change:


Basically, we have close to doubled the number of Americans backing marriage equality in around two decades. It is hard to think of a more successful persuasive strategy. And it’s because of that success, grounded now in democratic decision-making, and in the strong empathy of many straight friends, family and co-workers, that we now have almost 12 states with marriage equality and the federal prohibition on its last legs. Opposition has never polled lower and support has never polled higher.

I find this evidence for not wanting the Supreme Court to pre-empt this long democratic deliberation. Yes, ensure that the federal government returns to its traditional role as deferrer to states when it comes to what a civil marriage license is. But then be patient. Better to win by hearts and minds, as we are, than to cut off that process and give opponents a genuine reason to cry foul.