Is there any better example of the yawning gulf between the academic and mainstream cultures than the same-sex-marriage debate? Out in the “real world,” the people have spoken about as clearly as citizens of a democracy can speak. The Associated Press reported Maine’s results this way:
Voters in the northeastern state of Maine repealed a state law that would have allowed same-sex couples to wed, dealing the gay rights movement a heartbreaking defeat in the corner of the country most supportive of gay marriage.
Gay marriage has now lost in every single state — 31 in all — in which it has been put to a popular vote. Gay-rights activists had hoped to buck that trend in Maine — known for its moderate, independent-minded electorate — and mounted an energetic, well-financed campaign.
But in academia, support for traditional values is viewed, well, differently. In Los Angeles, a student is shouted down by his own professor and threatened with expulsion for quoting a dictionary definition of marriage. In Michigan, a counseling student is literally thrown out of her program when she is unwilling to morally affirm same-sex relationships. In Missouri, a social-work student was ordered to change her values when she refused to write a state representative in support of homosexual adoption. In Georgia, a public university violated the Establishment Clause by literally teaching its students that those who have moral objections to same-sex sexual behavior are comparable to those who used the Bible to justify slavery.
In other words, academia — allegedly a haven for civilized debate on the great moral and cultural issues of our time — has decided who’s right and who’s wrong and is enforcing its decision with greater zeal than most churches and political parties. As academics survey the political landscape, will they grow more tolerant of opposing views, or less? I’m guessing less — as they will view the results in Maine (and everywhere else) as a clarion call to redouble their efforts rather than reconsider their dogma.