Facebook is awash in red equal signs. The Supreme Court is surrounded by protestors and supporters. And polling numbers show a massive increase in support for marriage equality – a recent poll from Pew showed support from Catholics, Jews, and Protestants well over 50% in support of LGBT marriage.
Which begs the question: why are we still arguing about this?
The ranks of allies and supporters of LGBT marriage equality are growing quickly for a few reasons. First, opposition to marriage equality is “aging out” – as more young people, who grew up in a more LGBT friendly time, are coming of age and voting, their political heft is surpassing that of of older voters who are less comfortable with it. Second, some of the older generations are, to use President Obama’s phrase, “evolving” on the issue – they talked to their kids, they thought about who they knew, and they slowly became more and more comfortable with the idea of men marrying men and women marrying women.
This graph from Daily Kos’s article “Republicans struggle to explain generational divide on marriage equality” shows support in different generations pretty nicely. What I found hilarious was how the GOP is trying to avoid the question of LGBT equality. Lisa Stickan, the chairwoman of the Young Republican National Federation, told POLITICO:
Gay marriage “is not as politically potent because you have younger people in a completely different scenario than five years ago. It’s post-college, paying off student loans, the ability to buy a house. Everyone is talking about the new normal being staying with parents longer because of the difficulty in terms of being able to find employment. And I think that’s something young people are concerned with.”
She’s wrong and she’s right, really. She’s wrong when she says that LGBT marriage equality “is not as politically potent” as it was – support has only grown, and it would be foolish not to jump on that support.
She’s right in that we have better things to argue about. Why, as a nation, are we suddenly so concerned with who people are allowed to marry? This shouldn’t be a question. LGBT people should have the same marriage rights as everyone else, it makes no difference to the government or to other private citizens.
We have so many more important things facing our nation. Why are we not devoting all our energies to creating jobs? Why are we not focusing our attention on comprehensive immigration reform? Why are we arguing about marriage when we could be reforming education?
In other words: LGBT marriage equality isn’t going to hurt anyone, and we clearly don’t care too much who straight people marry (or divorce). So why are getting so worked up about this and ignoring the more pressing problems we could be fixing?