It is extraordinary how having the exact same view about marriage that President Obama and Hillary Clinton professed until very recently now gets you cast into outer darkness as a vile bigot and reprehensible human being. What explains this? I have my own theory, but take note of Damon Linker, a long-time gay marriage supporter, writing in The Week about the “ugliness” (Linker’s term) of the demonization of gay marriage critic Ryan Anderson, and the decision of Anderson’s alma mater to remove a notice of a Washington Post profile from the school’s website because it “upset” people:
The controversy is nonetheless important because of what it tells us about the cultural endgame of the gay-rights movement. The reaction of those who raised objections to the link as well as the decision of the head of school to remove the link and offer an abject apology for posting it — both of these are depressing signs that liberal public opinion is evolving in the direction of theological certainties and illiberal forms of intolerance. These so-called liberals want Anderson to be shunned. Expelled from the community. Excommunicated from civilized life. Ostracized from the ranks of the decent.
That is something that should trouble all fair-minded Americans. . .
Because, we are told over and over and over again, opposing gay marriage is rank bigotry, morally equivalent to arguing that African Americans deserve to be treated as second-class citizens, and certainly no different than denying their right to marry members of other races. Treating Anderson and others on his side of the issue with civility is just as morally outrageous as seriously entertaining the arguments of an educated and polite champion of anti-miscegenation laws in the Jim Crow South. The gay rights movement and many liberals increasingly want this to become the default, accepted, commonsense view.
They must not be allowed to succeed.
The growing militance of the gay marriage crusade finds its rough parallel, I think, with the civil rights movement of the 1960s. Having achieved its long-sought goals of removing legal barriers to equal rights through the Civil Rights Act, the Voting Rights Act, the Equal Housing Act, and other measures, what happened to the civil rights movement? A radical new faction took center stage, with the rise of the “black power” movement. Martin Luther King and other civil rights leaders were dismayed—as Linker is dismayed about the course of gay marriage advocacy today—but they were ultimately unable to keep the Stokely Carmichael/Eldridge Cleaver/Huey Newton/Bobby Seale faction from wrecking the civil rights movement and making way for today’s racial demagogues like Al Sharpton, even though most American blacks were and are not separatist radicals like the Panthers in their heyday.
So this isn’t the first time that we’ve seen a social movement, having achieved substantial political victory, find some of its most vocal factions turning toward retribution.