The right wing and same-sex marriage


I had lunch with my old friend Johnny Angel Wendell, a musician, actor, and radio personality in LA, who was up here on vacation (and to hype his new vinyl, "My Lesbian Friend,") and we got to talking about the Supreme Court and same-sex marraige, and Johnny and I have agreed for years that this debate is essentially over. When 80 percent of people under 30 think same-sex marriage is fine, then it's really only a matter of time before it's legal and encouraged in every single state.

Johnny knows a lot of folks in talk radio, and a lot of them are on the right-wingy side of things, so he's a dinosaur watcher, and he had this suggestion: The reason the right wing is all agitated about same-sex marraige, and really wants the Supreme Court to avoid saying that Prop. 8-style laws are all unConstitutional, is that these folks are starting to run out of divisive social issues. The "god, guns, and gays" approach doesn't have the power it once did -- and once that stuff goes away, then they'll have to start talking about economic issues -- where they will always lose.

Thomas Frank figured that out in What's the Matter with Kansas -- social issues have been driving working-class Americans to vote against their economic interests. Imagine if the next generation doesn't care about gay marriage at all; then maybe those voters will think about taxes and wealth inequality and corporate power. And for a certain segment of American politics, that's really frightening.


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