Gallup recently conducted a poll of American attitudes about homosexual rights. In keeping with recent trends, a majority of Americans (53%) say that they favor same-sex marriage. A majority also favors inheritance rights, health benefits for partners, and adoption rights for gays and lesbians.
There is one little item in this poll that caught my eye. While 63% of Americans say that discrimination against gay people is a problem in our country, a majority of Americans (52%) say that openly gay adults should not be allowed to serve as Boy Scout Leaders. This begs the obvious question. If Americans believe that discrimination against gays is a problem, why do they favor discrimination when it comes to Boy Scout leaders? Is there something in their gut putting a check on their otherwise clear opposition to discrimination?
My hunch is that many Americans have not fully thought through their laissez faire attitude toward gay rights. Many Americans seem to believe that people ought to be able to do what they want to do within the privacy of their own bedrooms so long as they aren’t hurting anyone. They see the matter as a private issue and have not fully contemplated the public consequences of the next stage of the sexual revolution. Thus when issues like Boy Scout leadership come up, we find a discrepancy between what Americans say they believe and what they are actually willing to do.
Here’s the bottom line. Our “private” views on sexual morality are not really private. They both reflect and shape the culture that we live in. And they inevitably have public consequences. The Boy Scout controversy is just a small piece of it. I suspect that Americans haven’t even begun to comprehend the enormity of the revolution that they are now embarking on with reference to the normalization of homosexuality and gay marriage. It will become clear soon enough.
(HT: Tony Perkins)