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Five Predictions about Gay Marriage


I don’t like games of “gotcha.” Which is why when Steve Chapman asked me to make predictions for his newspaper column about how gay marriage will affect marriage in various states, I “politely declined,” as he noted in his column. He did not note the reason I declined: A project to document institutional change should be done in a serious way. As an old “marriage debate” person, I am highly aware of the lessons of the 1970s — how ”off-the-cuff” journalistic-type measures purporting to be scholarly affected the public debate over first divorce, and then no-fault divorce. I would welcome a serious project by serious people, across ideological lines, to try to design a serious study. 

But the game of “gotcha” having been begun by Steve, let me make a few preliminary predictions about the short-term effects of SSM:

  1. In gay-marriage states, a large minority people committed to traditional notions of marriage will feel afraid to speak up for their views, lest they be punished in some way.
  2. Public schools will teach about gay marriage.
  3. Parents in public schools who object to gay marriage being taught to their children will be told with increasing public firmness that they don’t belong in public schools and their views will not be accomodated in any way. 
  4. Religous institutions will face new legal threats (especially soft litigation threats) that will cause some to close, or modify their missions, to avoid clashing with the government’s official views of marriage (which will include the view that opponents are akin to racists for failing to see same-sex couples as married).
  5. Support for the idea “the ideal for a child is a married mother and father” will decline.


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