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Reality, anyone?

A decline in support for same-sex marriage shouldn’t surprise us


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Reality, anyone?
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Almost 10 years after the Supreme Court invented a constitutional right to marry someone of the same sex, a recent Gallup survey shows support for same-sex marriage is receding. While the number of Americans in favor of gay marriage remains high—69 percent—it has declined in recent years among Democrats, Republicans, and independents alike. Support among Republicans has dipped below 50 percent and among Democrats dropped to 83 percent, down from 87 percent in 2022.

Despite recent declines, the still-strong public support reminds us of the moral revolution that has taken place in the United States and throughout the West in recent decades. Indeed, Barack Obama was elected president in 2008 as a Democrat who said he believed marriage was a relationship between a man and a woman. Times have changed. Though his position was correct, he quickly abandoned it, and today, there likely isn’t a single elected Democrat in Washington, D.C., who would publicly agree with it. Even many Republicans would be unwilling to defend it. Is recent polling evidence of buyer’s remorse?

Same-sex marriage was sold as a solution to a grave societal injustice. People were already able to form whatever relationships they wanted, but we were told that limiting the definition of marriage to relationships capable of producing children was the moral equivalent of separate drinking fountains. Then we were told stories about people denied hospital visits. And it worked.

Since then, we have replaced concerns over hospital visitation with images of gay men lying in hospital beds holding newborn babies, cosplaying a mother who just gave birth. The intended purpose, it seems, is to tell the world, “We’re just like you,” but for many, it has the opposite effect. Middle America may have a difficult time sharing the excitement over how “normal” same-sex couples are because they can’t stop thinking about the woman whose womb was rented to bring the child into the world and the fact that the baby will always miss her. But that example is a good illustration of what same-sex marriage has always been about: Think only about the happiness of the next five minutes and not at all about the consequences over the next 100 years.

Beyond that, the campaign to redefine marriage was defined by slogans like “Love is love.” We were made to feel like bad people if we dared suggest anything was more important than someone’s happiness. But now, other people’s happiness requires drag queens to twerk in front of small children and the kids’ moms are supposed to watch and applaud because it’s judgmental to object.

It’s not clear whether support for same-sex marriage has peaked, but we can be confident it won’t prevail over time because it was always based on a lie.

Same-sex marriage was sold as an act of tolerance, but immediately upon accepting the terms, the people who agreed to be tolerant started getting sued. They then were told they had to use preferred pronouns, display a Pride flag in the cubicle during June, and affirm the idea that men can have babies. Failure to comply risked social ostracization or worse. They can be excused for wondering what happened to the tolerance messaging.

The fact that the moral revolution has happened so quickly, and public opinion changed so rapidly, may be working against it. Easy come, easy go. It’s not clear whether support for same-sex marriage has peaked, but we can be confident it won’t prevail over time because it was always based on a lie. Pretending that men and women are the same or that kids will be fine without one of their parents was a premise destined to fail, not because proponents of same-sex marriage had bad intentions, they were fighting the laws of the universe.

These laws exist even if we find them inconvenient. We may wish to fly and believe the laws of gravity discriminate against wingless creatures. We may even assemble, give speeches, and legislate away the laws of gravity that discriminate against us and prevent us from living authentically. But the moment we jump off the roof to prove our independence from gravity, all we will do is discover the limits of our jurisdiction. Humanity was not created to fly.

Nor was humanity created to please ourselves by following our desires. Many in the West wanted to be Superman and we have taken significant steps under the premise that we can be, and then we jumped. Yes, we were warned, but now it’s real. In these few seconds since our leap, we are just beginning to come to terms with the magnitude of our mistake.


Joseph Backholm

Joseph is a senior fellow for Biblical worldview and strategic engagement at the Family Research Council. Previously, he served as a legislative attorney and spent 10 years as the president and general counsel of the Family Policy Institute of Washington. He also served as legal counsel and director of “What Would You Say?” at the Colson Center for Christian Worldview where he developed and launched a YouTube channel of the same name. His YouTube life began when he identified as a 6-foot-5 Chinese woman in a series of videos exploring the logic of gender identity. He and his wife, Brook, have four children.


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