OK, OK, I’ve been away from the keys all day, and I appreciate all the links in the comments thread earlier to prominent liberal commentators who have denounced the efforts by the mayors of Boston, Washington DC, San Francisco, Pittsburgh, Chicago and whoever else I’m forgetting, to punish Chick-fil-A because they don’t like its owner’s views on gay marriage. I agree with Ross Douthat, though, that it’s hardly reassuring when many of these liberals seem to object not on moral grounds, but for tactical reasons — that is, because it’ll make it harder for same-sex marriage to become universal.
Besides, who is a better bellwether of the social and cultural climate: the viewpoints of The New York Times editorial board, Glenn Greenwald, and Kevin Drum, or the viewpoints of major Democratic politicians who actually have to run for office? I think the fact that Emanuel, Gray, Menino, et alia, felt emboldened to say things like this in public is more revealing about where we are on this issue than the words of these liberal SSM supporters, as welcome as they are. Douthat:
But [the gay marriage cause] has also advanced, and will probably continue to advance, through social pressure, ideological enforcement, and legal restriction. Indeed, the very language of the movement is explicitly designed to exert this kind of pressure: By redefining yesterday’s consensus view of marriage as “bigotry,” and expanding the term “homophobia” to cover support for that older consensus as well as personal discomfort with/animus toward gays, the gay marriage movement isn’t just arguing with its opponents; it’s pathologizing them, raising the personal and professional costs of being associated with traditional views on marriage, and creating the space for exactly the kind of legal sanctions that figures like Thomas Menino and Rahm Emanuel spent last week flirting with.
When one considers that in the past week, these Democratic mayors have publicly endorsed punishing a company’s franchisees because its owner holds views on marriage that President Obama officially believed until less than three months ago, one can’t help but anticipate that there will be hell to pay for traditional Christian business owners once these pols and their supporters have the full force of the law behind them. (Somehow, I think Orthodox Jewish and Muslim merchants will get a pass.)
Douthat says that it’s quite possible those bigoted loudmouth mayors may solidify the anti-SSM resistance. I believe it. It is hard for me to overstate how little enthusiasm I have for Mitt Romney, but considering the way leading Democratic politicians are willing to treat my people, well, I wonder…