I sent a slightly different version of this item to the New Yorker letters to the editor.
As I mentioned in a blog post last Thursday, I stepped into a blog-comment debate on Prop. 8 with a guy after a mutual friend posted a blog entry titled “Mawwiage” on her blog. His theory, and the theory of a very wrong New Yorker piece in the new Dec. 1 issue, is that old people helped push through Prop. 8, young voters opposed it by 13 points, and once the old people die off, gay marriage will once again become law in California. “[I]t’s hard to think of a reason that getting older should change their minds,” the writer opined.
I thought of a reason. Traditional marriage. The voters’ own traditional marriage.
Getting married for the first time drastically changes one’s perspective on marriage. Before getting married, one gleans his or her concept of marriage from parents, grandparents and married friends. Some of those people have wonderful marriages, and some unfortunately have bad marriages or are divorced. Until one actually walks the plank and experiences marriage for himself, he cannot understand fully understand what marriage truly means. Once married, I think his perspective changes (and improves) in two areas:
1. If he was previously ambivalent or mildly opposed to adultery, he now sees it as abhorrent and disgusting; and
2. He realizes how special and unique his marriage is, and that it is very different from the union of a gay couple. And that it deserves its own legal distinction.
Obviously, there are exceptions. Millions of married people cheat; and a number of the six million California voters who voted “no” on Prop. 8 are married. However, a huge percentage of those under-35 “No” voters are never-married singles. If the gay marriage forces in California manage to put another measure on a future ballot, they’ll find that a large numbers of this year’s “No” voters will be married. And those young married couples will no longer share the view that gay marriage is the same.