From David Remnick’s New Yorker piece last month about Putinism in contemporary Russia:

Putin does not like being lectured to, does he? I asked.

A smile returned to the spokesman’s lips. “Actually, I was coming here in the car listening to the radio,” he said. “Do you know what was the first item on the news? The State Department of the United States expressed its gravest concern about the policy in Russia toward gays!” Peskov was referring to proposed legislation in St. Petersburg that would prohibit “propaganda of sodomy, lesbianism, bisexuality, and transgenderism to minors.” He was in stitches now. “I thought, What is the State Department of the United States doing? With their national debt! With their collapsing economy! With a leak of industry in the country because everything is in a financial bubble! With a nightmare in Afghanistan! With a nightmare in Iraq! With a nightmare in the global economy! And they have a deep concern about gays in Russia. Ha! Ha! So I was really in a very good mood because of this!”

For some reason, this put me in mind of the stance against gay marriage taken by the peak-oil apocalypticist James Howard Kunstler, which he acknowledges is unusual for someone of his demographic (Democrat, Boomer, and, he might have said, ardent secularist and resident of New York State). Why has he taken this view? He explains, in part, here:

I don’t have empirical proof, but I suspect that unsettling such an age-old and fundamental social arrangement will produce strange unanticipated consequences that we are not prepared for. I don’t believe gay marriage is a genuine social justice issue. I think it is a bid for a kind of broad social approbation which does not require ritual enactment in law, and would be socially mischievous to pursue. Civil unions would cover the necessary legal issues. Otherwise, it is a case of unwarranted relativism, a Boomer weakness. Not all conditions or states of being in this world are the same. Some things are on the margins because they are marginal.
 What fascinates me in the debate is the narcissism of Boomers, males especially, who advocate so earnestly in favor of gay marriage. Is it really about the law and social relations, or is it about making yourself feel good?  Is it just more posturing for moral brownie points, for approval?  Is your job and social position or maybe even sense of yourself at stake if you have a differing view?
I can’t find it on his site, and don’t have time for an extensive search, but I remember Kunstler writing something a few years ago about how frustrating he found so much of our political energy going into fighting over gay marriage when there are massive problems facing us regarding our energy supply and economic stability. He despises the Republicans so much that, as I recall, he didn’t even bother arguing against them. His rage — and boy, does he have a Marcellus Shale of rage — was directed at Democratic politicians, who, in his view, were so preoccupied with gay marriage that they were making it way too easy for Republicans to win office, and (in his view) leave America even more unprepared for the coming age of energy scarcity.
The overall point was the same as in the excerpt above: he believes we are headed for an age of massive economic and social upheaval, and that anything that weakens our already-frayed bonds is not to be desired or embraced. That, and he thinks gay marriage is an issue indulgently embraced and advocated by the educated middle classes.