6 August 2003

Generational Divide on Homosexual Rights

In Minneapolis, the Episcopal Church approved the election of its first openly gay bishop, in a move that threatens to split the denomination in two.

It seems that it's the summer of gay news story inundation, taking the heat off the Bush administration for the economic problems that plague the nation and the scandalous web of PR deceit that they weaved to justify the Iraq invasion. First, Supreme Court ruling that struck down a Texas sodomy law. Then a plan for a New York high school dedicated to gay students. And the story on Canada changing its laws to permit gay marriage.

While I wish no harm to those who pursue an alternative path of sexuality, I'm uncomfortable and uneasy with the thought of gay religous leaders or gay marriages providing benefits that traditionally are granted to married couples. According to polls on the matter, I'm not alone in my assessment.

In analyzing the poll data, one observation leaps out off the page. When Americans are asked if they are in favor of homosexual marriage, 55% are opposed, 40% are in favor. But if you examine the age breakdowns, it is remarkable how dependent the value is upon the responder's age. Young Americans, under 30, are in favor of gay marriage by a margin of 61-35. Those 65 and older are against such unions by a large spread, 73-18. And the average number slides downward for each younger age bracket. The 30-44 age bracket is dead on matched with the 55-40 against overall mark.

Is this phenomenon emblematic of a future change in national social policy or will those young adults modify their beliefs and conform to the beliefs of the elderly today?


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