Phi Beta Cons

The Right take on higher education.

Regarding That Marriage Survey . . .


Nathan, I’d suggest that young people’s disproportionate support for same-sex marriage is thin evidence for the notion that it’s a “tide that probably can’t be turned back.” Here we are about six years after the Massachusetts court decision that launched the tide, and same-sex marriage just keeps losing — even in the bluest of states. Young people generally have more liberal attitudes toward sexual issues (hardly a surprise) as well as no real experience with marriage. Older citizens have more hard-earned experience regarding the real-world consequences of a more libertine view of marriage and the family. I don’t see this generational gap closing anytime in the near future.

But I’m no Pollyanna. What does concern me is the near-total absence of genuine campus debate on this issue. When orthodox Christian groups are fighting for their very lives on campus, it’s hard to see how students get even a partial sense of the arguments for marriage. While young people do change their views as they get older, it’s also the case that views formed during college can often harden considerably and have lasting consequences.

The bottom line? I’m less concerned about what freshman believe right now than I am about their access to intelligent debate . . . and thus the prospect of changing hearts and minds.


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