In a way, it would seem strange that conservatives and Republicans should even contemplate or worry about the gay vote. Some estimates of the gay community in America puts it no higher than pehaps 3.5% of the population, or 9 million Americans. The actual number of gays is not the problem per se, but the number of gay agenda sympathizers is the problem. Lets look at recent polls regarding an item near and dear to the LGBT community- gay marriage. A CNN poll conducted in April, 2011 shows that 51% of Americans support gay marriage while 47% oppose it. In 2009, only 44% supported gay marriage and 54% opposed it according to CNN. An ABC poll this year found 53% support and 44% opposition towards gay marriage. A Pew Research poll found 45% support and 46% opposition to gay marriage. Meanwhile, all polls find at least a 51% support for civil unions for gay couples.
I wholeheartedly agree that there is a religious component to the controversy that cannot necessarily be overlooked. Invariably, Biblical interpretations of marriage will usually revert to Biblical definitions of sexual perversions and on it goes. My father taught me that politics and religion do not mix and when discussing this issue, it would be wise to heed this simple political maxim. Instead, there is a better tack to address this issue. But first, a little background.
Personally, I really do not care about the sexual orientation of anyone. I have my fair share of gay friends. My wife's cousin in California is a well-respected therapist who happens to be gay and who, along with his partner, have adopted two beautiful, well-adjusted children. My limited view of their interaction with each other and with their children could be used as a template for proper functioning of a heterosexual couple and parents. I have not seen many studies, probably because its a new phenomena, but I would love to see if the failure rate (i.e., divorce rate) among homosexual couples is higher or any different than heterosexual couples. Personally, i think that any cultural institution that decreases sexual promiscuity- homo- or heterosexual- is for the good of society as a whole. If gay marriage, in fact, decreases sexual promiscuity among gays, then all the more power to them.
I have read the pros and the cons of gay marriage. Many of the sob stories paraded forth by the LGBT community in support of gay marriage seem rather short-sighted in the first place. For example, they state that they are systematically excluded from making medical decisions for their partners, yet aren't there such things as living wills that address these issues? They argue about such things as community property and such, but aren't there such things as binding contracts and wills? Perhaps the only area where they have an iota of truth is in the case of a spouse testifying against another spouse. Absent the marriage license, in effect, one gay partner may be legally compelled to testify against the other partner. All the other arguments can be addressed through existing laws.
Gay marriage is the key issue within the gay community now that the Don't Ask Don't Tell policy has been rescinded in the military. This is not so much a civil rights issue as much as it is a state's rights issue. Of course, according to the liberal political speech gatekeepers, "state's rights" is a code word for racism. Except in this case, we are not talking about race, but sexual orientation. Traditionally, marriage- the requirements, the parameters, etc.- have been set by the states. There is no Federal marriage license. Of course, there are federal policies, usually in our tax code, that encourage or touch upon marriage. However, for social security benefits for example, survivors are usually designated. Does it matter who someone designates as their survivors?
It would make tremendous sense to "de-federalize" the debate over gay marriage. Allow both sides to make their case on a state-by-state basis free of court interference. This is where the LGBT community can be taken to task. They will invariably note that American views of gay marriage in particular and homosexuality in general are changing, that they are liberalizing. They will cite these CNN, ABC, and Pew polls as proof of that. What they fear is that in the only poll that counts-that of the voter- they stand a good chance of failure. That is why they resort to the courts to achieve through judicial fiat that which they cannot fairly win in the election booth.
So regarding gay marriage, a proposal. Conservatives drop demands for a Consitutional amendment regarding marriage and we remove the entire subject from the purview of the Federal government and return the subject of marriage to the states. Within a certain period of time, the citizens of all the states will offer a referendum offering (1) gay marriage, (2) civil unions, or (3) traditional opposite-sex marriage only. If neither of these options reachh the 50% mark, then there be a run-off to determine that state's policy. If attitudes have changed or are changing in favor of gay marriage, then the LGBT should not be afraid of the outcome. In other words, take them to task and call their bluff. Conversely, if the state votes in their favor, then conservatives must accept that decision with equal acceptance. Let both sides make their case and let the citizens of the several states decide that which has traditionally fell to the states. If the gay community fails to make their case at the state level and then insists in judicial interventions, then we should forcefully demand a Constitutional amendment defining opposite-sex marriage. But, let them have their say in the court of public opinion and in the voting booth.
Let us once and for all put this issue of gay marriage behind us for both the 3.5% minority of the population and the rest of us. Then we can finally end this sideshow in American politics. Surely, even liberals- gay or not- would not deny a basic tenet of democracy- let the voters decide.