DALLAS (BP) — With polls showing rising support for same-sex marriage, proponents and many pundits insist there’s no turning back. In fact, a new study released in May by the Pew Research Center found that 72 percent of Americans now believe that it’s “inevitable” that we’ll legally recognize same-sex marriage in this country. That’s up from 59 percent in 2004.
Perhaps those of us who don’t think same-sex unions are really marriage and believe marriage should be defined as the union between one man and one woman simply need to drop that belief and get on the right side of history. Not so fast!
Maybe we in the U.S. should learn something from what’s taking place in France, which in April became the 14th country to legalize same-sex marriage. This was a key campaign promise made by Socialist French President Francois Hollande. It was done hastily with debate squelched, perhaps in violation of the French constitution.
But, for the French, this is not going down easily. Four massive mobilizations have taken place in France since November: two before the law was passed and two since. These have involved millions of people marching the streets of France, necessitating thousands of riot police and even tear gas. Roads in Paris and other cities were blocked and transportation systems paralyzed.
Robert Oscar Lopez is an associate professor — with tenure — of English and classics at California State University, Northridge. In a recent column at the Witherspoon Institute’s Public Discourse, he argues that those who insist legal same-sex marriage is inevitable are making a couple of fallacious assumptions. One is “that the increase in support for same sex marriage will be consistent over time rather than fickle.” The second is that same sex marriage is gaining support because people are becoming more enlightened about it, often from knowing someone who is gay.
Again, we look to the French who “had little issue with” domestic partnerships, passed in the ’90s. Lopez said that in the fall of 2012, French support of same sex marriage was at its peak at 60 percent.
Now, after the French learned more about what comes with same-sex marriage and as they are exposed to public discussion on the subject, they’re souring on it. Polls now show support hovering around 39 percent.
The French are famously family oriented and child-focused. The change in public opinion is taking place as citizens are coming to grips with what legal gay marriage means for children.
After President Hollande signed the law, discussions escalated about sperm banking and artificial reproduction, which are frowned upon in France more than in the U.S. Among the French, there is a decided lack of comfort with adoption by same-sex couples, allowed as part of the new law, and surrogacy, which is not allowed but still takes place using women from other countries.
And just weeks ago in Illinois, which is a blue state, same-sex marriage was turned back. It’s not inevitable.
Penna Dexter is a conservative activist and frequent panelist on the “Point of View” syndicated radio program. Get Baptist Press headlines and breaking news on Twitter (@BaptistPress), Facebook (Facebook.com/BaptistPress) and in your email (baptistpress.com/SubscribeBP.asp).