Breaking Glass

Unto Them a Child Was Born

Normality is a fragile concept, and that observation is nowhere more true than in sexual matters.  In making that point, I am not questioning the existence of absolute moral standards—quite the contrary.  Rather, I am suggesting that, once a society loses its religious moorings, it drifts into startling novelties with a haste even more vertiginous than we might expect.  Not only do beliefs and mores change very rapidly, but new ideas establish themselves so totally that it becomes almost impossible to remember the old world.  To paraphrase Mark Twain, a novelty will fly around the whole world while tradition is getting her boots on.

Same-sex “marriage” is a case in point.  Today, a slim majority of Americans still oppose this radical innovation, but conservative views are losing support fast, as acceptance of same-sex unions is increasingly seen as a marker of civilized tolerance.  Mass media commonly present opponents as cranky, repressive, and (probably) self-loathing homosexuals themselves.  But how swiftly has such a situation come into existence!  It would be interesting to trace changing attitudes through surveys and opinion polls, but virtually no such surveys exist before the year 2000 or so.  The question simply was not asked, because the whole idea of “gay marriage” was considered so fringe and outlandish that it was nowhere near the public agenda.  When in the 1990’s...

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