Is Opposition To Same-Sex Marriage The Same As Being Anti-Gay?

via Baylor Institute for Studies of Religion:
Public Opinion on Same-Sex Marriage by Byron Johnson

Is Opposition To Same-Sex Marriage The Same As Being Anti-Gay?

“Not at all,” says Byron Johnson, Director of Baylor’s Institute for Studies of Religion and Distinguished Professor of the Social Sciences.  Johnson concludes:

It is unwarranted and irresponsible to interpret opposition to same-sex marriage as a proxy for being anti-gay. There is no empirical evidence to suggest that senior citizens are anti-gay.

Johnson bases his opinion on the findings from a recent national survey on same-sex marriage performed by the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI).  For the record, this survey was was funded by something called the Arcus Foundation, a pro-LGBT organization. So, it is not as if Johnson is rehashing the findings from a pro-traditional marriage witch hunt poll.  Still yet, Johnson makes an interesting observation from the data in this particular survey:

There is indeed a significant gap in support of same-sex marriage when one compares all Millennials to all senior citizens. However, when one looks at the views of Evangelicals toward same-sex marriage—a group estimated to be 100 million strong—a considerably different picture emerges. Being an Evangelical Protestant significantly lowers the chance one will agree with gay marriage in either age range, and brings the 18-to-29 age group down to a level of support similar to all others in the 65-and-over age range. Perhaps Evangelical churches are doing a better job combating the considerable cultural influences in support of same-sex marriage.

I take two things away from Byron’s observation:

  1. Opposition to same-sex marriage does not necessarily mean the same thing as being anti-gay.  Evangelical Christians would be wise to call foul whenever the two phrases are used interchangeably in the popular press. And the popular press would be wise to describe the debate using a measure of technical consistency and proficiency.
  2. I hope the Christian Church in America is as steady in lifting up the Biblical standard for marriage and family as Johnson suggests.  And, I pray that the Christian Church would stand as strongly for other Bible items (Like salvation, truth, evangelism, ecclesiology, beauty, and discipleship).

About Doug Hankins

Although not a Christian in his youth, Doug came to believe in Jesus during his teenage years. When not playing sports or pastoring Doug is probably spending time with his wife, reading a good book, or drinking some hot tea. Doug's first book Dawson Trotman: In His Own Words is available wherever books are sold. You can follow Doug on twitter.
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2 Responses to Is Opposition To Same-Sex Marriage The Same As Being Anti-Gay?

  1. Ester says:

    My renopsse to you, lsfoster, is as follows:1. The entire adult homosexual population is smaller than the population of unwed mothers. Indeed the latter grows as marriage comes to mean less and less. And SSM depends on marriage meaning less, rather than more.2. The pro-SSM view is that marriage means so little that it can now be boiled down to government bennies. Showing up for the bennies is the “right to marry”, as per the demand for SSM.3. Participation rates in SSM (under whatever description, including same-sex householding) are very, very, very low. Whatever SSM means, other than bennies, it is a marginal practice within the adult homosexual population.4. For the rest of society marriage has a much deeper meaning and goes far beyond the superficial ‘show-up for government bennies’ rational of the SSM view. That deeper view, however, is being derided as bigoted. Government is being called on to marginalize the deeper meaning of marriage.5. SSM already is marginal in the adult homosexual population. So the potential for damage there starts very low.6. The potential for damage is far greater in the rest of society where the rational for government bennies is based on what marriage actually is: a conjugal relationship between husband and wife. The relationship precedes the bennies. But if the bennies become the rational for the relationship, then,that becomes normative and supplants the deeper meaning of marriage.7. Nonmarriage marriages (i.e. the platonic friendship to use your phrase) are possible but very rare under the current understanding of marriage. Change that understanding to make the possible normative and buddy marriages become a viable, and desirable, quasi-solution to the nonmarital trends. Increases in those trends, SSMers often declare, make the notion of SSM more and more plausible.8. You pointed out an unintended consequence of the current understanding of marriage: the buddy marriages which are possible but very rare. So you can’t just airily dismiss that the unintended consequence of the pro-SSM understanding of showing up for government bennies. These conseuqences work on all of society, not just the target subgroup.9. Furthermore, once the government bennies are divorced from what marriage actually is, and the bennies become the rational for ‘marital status’, all arrangements and types of relationships become eligible, by the force of that rational’s logic. In other words, why would two straight women consider themselves married (as per the pro-marriage understanding) when they are just showing up for the bennies? And why would society — via government — make a distinction if the bennies are the central thing rather than the meaning of marriage?The answers are being debated now — during the attempt to merge SSM with marriage. And those answers come in the way of dismissive shrugs, by SSMers far and wide.Marriage would mean less and less. So why make the meaning of marraige the reason for government bennies? Indeed, why allot such bennies? Afterall, a license to marry does not justify itself; neither do the bennies.

    • Karolina says:

      he was proud of him.) After WWII, as an OSS officer in Vienna, my heftar had to use force to prevent a Soviet soldier from raping an Austrian woman quite a risk at the outset of the Cold War, but he was unable to stand by as an atrocity was committed. As an official in the Kennedy Administration, sent to Vietnam by National Security Advisor McGeorge Bundy in 1962 for an evaluation, he reported that we would never win with the tactics we were using, in alliance with a corrupt government, supporting the oppression of the very people we were trying to woo away from communism. His report caused a stir and earned him many enemies in the administration, including Defense Secretary McNamara. He was willing to take risks for the ethical principles he believed in one of a breed that has always been rare but seems especially rare today.Kenneth Hansen was no fan of reggae, but I think he would have appreciated these lyrics from Peter Tosh: Everyone is crying out for peace, yesNone is crying out for justiceI don’t want no peaceI need equal rights and justice Critics of the Court’s decision appear to believe that anything that interferes with the desires of 51% of the population thwarts democracy. They fail to recognize that the actions of the courts are also a vital part of democracy. The framers of the U.S. Constitution understood clearly that the unfettered will of the people expressed through the ballot box becomes simply a tyranny of the majority a frightening prospect. Precisely to prevent such tyranny they established a formidable bulwark the separation of powers ensuring that whenever the majority tried to trample the rights of minorities, the courts could step in to preserve those rights. This is exactly what the California Supreme Court has done in Thursday’s decision. Citing the Court’s 1948 ruling (also 4-3) striking down restrictions on interracial marriages, they pointed out that previous tradition’ and the will of the majority’ were insufficient grounds to restrict the rights of individuals also in that case (amazingly, the U.S. Supreme Court didn’t follow suit until 1967). Basic rights must be the foundation of democracy, and the courts have a key role to play in protecting those rights.This is why, for me, the most unnerving fact that this controversy has brought to light is the ease with which California’s constitution can be amended. To amend the U.S. Constitution, for example, a two-thirds majority of both houses must approve the proposed language, and three-quarters of the state legislatures must ratify it. Most states have similarly high bars, preventing ill conceived and hastily passed amendments. But California’s constitution requires only a simple majority of the electorate, and a proposed amendment banning same-sex marriages has already garnered enough signatures to appear on November’s ballot. The idea that a simple majority of the electorate can overrule the state Supreme Court is inappropriate no matter what one’s position is on gay marriage, an amendment that makes it harder to amend the constitution should be a high priority for sane government in California.In the meantime, I hope I will hear fewer shrill claims about the will of the people and more serious consideration of what it means to have rights, and what it takes to protect them.

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