Does 'Gay Marriage' Equal 'Gay Rights'?

Though North Carolinians are clearly not on board, public opinion has grown favorable to gay marriage to the point that Obama has seen fit to jump in with both feet, announcing his unequivocal support. What courage! But how did we get here? The increased public support for gay marriage has been manufactured by a persistent propaganda campaign. 

The most telling manipulative device in this effort has been the use of the phrase "gay rights" as to be interchangeable with "gay marriage." By controlling the terms, the advocates of gay marriage have positioned those opposed as being against "gay rights."  In fact, many of us who oppose gay marriage would not characterize ourselves as being against gay rights at all.

49 percent of Americans now favor gay marriage and 40 percent oppose it.  The other 11 percent are, perhaps, evolving? As the Wall Street Journal reports, this is basically a reversal of the statistics from 2009 when 49 percent were opposed and 41 percent favored gay marriage.  Prior to 2009, a strong majority of Americans opposed gay marriage. 

The propaganda efforts to mold public opinion on gay marriage have been wildly successful in the public schools and in the media, as evidenced by the popularity of gay marriage amongst younger Americans. Opposition to gay marriage has been equated with intolerance; bigotry on par with Jim Crow era segregation.  Unfortunately, most young people don't understand complex arguments, they respond better to slogans.  Gay marriage equals equality; therefore, gay marriage is good. So the argument goes.   

Most conservatives, along with Mitt Romney, would define gay rights as the right to be free from discrimination and persecution. Governor Romney posited himself as an advocate of gay rights in the '90s; but that does not exclude the possibility of his being against gay marriage, both then and now.  It is not inconsistent with his support for a constitutional amendment prohibiting gay marriage either.  Far from having a muddled position, Romney's is clear: he's for gay rights, and against gay marriage.

Quoted in the LA Times, Romney explains: "From the very beginning, in 1994, I said to the gay community, 'I do not favor same sex marriage...I oppose same sex marriage. But if people are looking for someone who will discriminate against gays or will in any way try and suggest that people that have different sexual orientations don't have full rights in this country, they won't find that in me." 

A moderator of a Republican debate, Andy Hiller, questioned Governor Romney: "When's the last time you stood up and spoke out for increasing gay rights?"  This question does not make sense, to say nothing of Hiller's shrill tone. Hiller presupposes that gays do not currently have their rights -- an idea with which Romney does not agree. Romney responded that the last time he has spoken to gay rights was "right now."  Here the governor demonstrated his adroitness in rhetorical combat.  His response was also humorous in that it demonstrated the disconnect between a hype-driven narrative about gay oppression and the reality, which is that gays already enjoy equal rights.

Though I wasn't born yet, I understand that when the gay rights movement took hold in the '60s, wary Americans were assured that gay marriage was not on the agenda.  Rather, gays simply sought not to be discriminated against and otherwise persecuted in the public sphere.  I would venture that most conservatives today are on board with the original demands associated with the gay rights movement.

Gay marriage, though, is apart of the new faux-civil-rights movement.  This movement also includes the mischaracterization of "disparate impact" as discrimination. Perhaps we can also add to the neo-civil rights struggle the supposed epidemic of white on black violence, which the Trayvon Martin incident demonstrated.  I dare say, there is no institutional racism, homophobia, or sexism anymore.  But there is institutional complaining, grievance mongering, and the incessant crying of wolf. 

The civil rights movements of the '60s have been so romanticized, especially in public schools, that young people feel that it is their birth right to protest oppression; and that only in doing so are they leading a fulfilling existence.  No actual oppression taking place?  Well, simply move the goal post by redefining any societal norm as oppressive; and voila, you've got a romantic struggle against "the man."

The conditioning that has occurred to promote gay marriage in our country is akin to that that occurs in Huxley's Brave New World.  In this novel, citizens listen to propaganda messages repeated over and over again in their sleep, from the time they are toddlers, until the values which the government seeks to transmit have been inculcated.  Such an approach is difficult to combat. 

One simple rebuttal to the gay marriage dogma would be the following: Marriage is a traditional institution.  The gay lifestyle, whether or not homosexuality is inborn, is alternative.  Marriage is traditional; being gay is alternative.  Never the twain shall meet.   

Malcolm Unwell is that rare bird, a conservative educator.  He can be contacted at