Magazine article USA TODAY

Tradition on the Ropes

Magazine article USA TODAY

Tradition on the Ropes

Article excerpt

AT CERTAIN TIMES IN HISTORY, society seems to move in a different direction, as values and mores change. While the social aspects of alteration often are important, the psychology of the day--the actual thinking of what is happening--takes on a life of its own. In the case of the same sex marriage debate, we seem to have one of the best examples of a true social and psychological sea change.

There appears to be a number of reasons why same sex marriage has become such a hot button issue, and why its acceptance is gaining traction in many parts of the U.S. What comes to mind first--from a socio logical point of view--is that young people are more open and progressive, which does not mean they necessarily are "liberals," but that they are looking dynamically at what is happening around them. Younger citizens consider "what makes sense," how a particular issue relates to them and affects their lives. In many ways, the views of those under 40 drive society forward.

The thinking of young Americans, moderates, progressives, independents, and even some with more conservative views goes like this: society needs to be inclusive and the psychology of the issue needs a different line of thought. With same sex marriage, many of us now understand it essentially has no effect on traditional marriage. Americans ask, "How is it possible to discriminate against a certain segment of our society?" Also strengthening the movement is the realization that thousands of gay Americans serve in the military and risk their lives to defend our freedom. The thought process then often moves on and questions how it is possible in a free country to have these same veterans come home and not be allowed to marry whomever they want. From a conservative point of view, where less government often is preferred, why would anyone want to have the government be involved in marriage? This would, in effect, create more government.

What seems to be obvious to many in this country is that, when someone or one type of organization or religious group has its own definition of what is right for all citizens, there is push-back. The last election demonstrated that Pres. Barack Obama's direct appeal to those representing where society is going is what mattered. Same sex marriage certainly is one issue that presents almost impossible challenges for those who are opposed. Perhaps those who oppose same sex marriage want to retain their power (religious or otherwise), or simply are afraid of any change that modifies traditional beliefs. …

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