Barack Obama has electrified his liberal constituency by announcing his support to the same sex marriage. He has mentioned it in his interview with ABC television[ 09-05-12]. In his own words which he has e mailed to all his supporters he says
I’ve always believed that gay and lesbian Americans should be treated fairly and equally. I was reluctant to use the term marriage because of the very powerful traditions it evokes. And I thought civil union laws that conferred legal rights upon gay and lesbian couples were a solution.
But over the course of several years I’ve talked to friends and family about this. I’ve thought about members of my staff in long-term, committed, same-sex relationships who are raising kids together. Through our efforts to end the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, I’ve gotten to know some of the gay and lesbian troops who are serving our country with honor and distinction.
What I’ve come to realize is that for loving, same-sex couples, the denial of marriage equality means that, in their eyes and the eyes of their children, they are still considered less than full citizens.
Even at my own dinner table, when I look at Sasha and Malia, who have friends whose parents are same-sex couples, I know it wouldn’t dawn on them that their friends’ parents should be treated differently. So I decided it was time to affirm my personal belief that same-sex couples should be allowed to marry.
I respect the beliefs of others, and the right of religious institutions to act in accordance with their own doctrines. But I believe that in the eyes of the law, all Americans should be treated equally. And where states enact same-sex marriage, no federal act should invalidate them.
In the process he has lit a time bomb in the American society which is deeply divisive about the issue of same sex as well as same sex marriage.
In one sense he has brought the end of the what is called “American Project” and which was excellently elucidated by Tocqueville –the French traveler—in the 1830’s. He stresses that the American institution of marriage was the fundamental to the civil society of the free nation. Of course he also praises ability of Americans to form associations at a drop if a hat and minimal levels of crime due to deterrent nature of punishment.
What has happened to the “American Project”? It was the swing of the pendulum from one extreme to the other. The relationship based local community based self governing and hence law abiding society has been turned into a rule based /contract and small print based society. Pre-nuptial contract/ Marriage contract/friendship contracts and child right contract. When the society becomes obsessed with rules then it loses its spontaneity and in the process the sovereignty of the families gets destroyed. When families are not in control children spend more time with game console rather than grandmother.
From the eighties the trend was visible where everyone was for enforcing rights and nobody to argue for duties. Old people are responsibility of Government so also unwed mothers and so also young children and so on. The joint family got liquidated to nuclear family which in turn became single parent or Cohabiting [living together] families. Single parent child are low performers compared to the children of married and living together parents Unfortunately lots of studies have shown that children of Cohabitating mothers are no better than that of single parent [usually a mother] parent child.[ See Charles Murray:The coming Apart- the state of white America 1960/2010 pages 165]
More than 50 % of children born in 2009 to under 30 women are out of wedlock. What was illegitimate has become new normal. Among blacks it is nearly 75% and 55% for Latinos—Marriage is Luxury Good [http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/18/us/for-women-under-30-most-births-occur-outside-marriage.html?pagewanted=all]
Already marriage and family as an institution is under severe stress and may not exist in the coming decade and in this cauldron Obama has poured Shudh Ghee to accentuate the issue by arguing that same sex marriage be recognized.
This will be extra-ordinarily divisive since only a few days before North Carolina has rejected any attempt to recognize gay marriages. USA is now broadly into two camps. The west Coast – [San Francisco is known as capital of same sex America!] and liberal North East on one side and the Bible belt of South and Midwest on the other. Economist newspaper says—“it is safe to say that over one-third of Americans, more than 100m, can be considered evangelical, with the greatest concentration in the South. Not only thatThe vast majority of evangelicals oppose gay marriage”. [05-05-2012]
The entire religious and family edifice of America as understood by Tocqueville is under threat.
The “American exceptionalism” has become exceptionally under threat. To the best of my current information same sex marriage or unions cannot consummate and so they have to adopt or go for sperm donations. The born again Christians or Evangelicals are not going to accept it under any circumstances and many more states will fight it tooth and nail. Remember civil war was for black issues but also linked to federalism and rights of states.
What about the Church? The Catholic Church has to oppose it tooth and nail but given the scandals regarding child abuse etc and their diminishing hold on their followers it may not matter much. But the opposition of New Age Churches like Pentecostal etc having evangelical followers will be severe. One possibility is for church to lose but Christianity to win by slowly projecting Christ as a gay person as much as a black Christ over time period has been converted to a White Christ [as depicted in the History Museum of New York]
The reaction of Islamic theologians will be very critical since all sections of Islam consider Homosexuality to be unnatural and in some Middle East countries it is punished with death.
As far as India is concerned even Marxist Historians have not provided instances of any gay being killed in our history for being a gay. At worst he may be looked upon with amusement in our villages not contempt.
But Americans are passionate and very religious people unlike Europeans. The Bible belt is not going to accept Obama’s election eve announcement of support. Obama has enthused his flock but undone “American Project”.
It is going to be long drawn out civil war fought on religious and federal principles which will split America into two—Those who are for and those who are against. The present tense and future uncertain