Gay Marriage as Status Symbol
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At an academic conference in 1998, I dined with several delightful social scientists who boasted that in a group called Common Ground, they had bravely conversed with some exotic and possibly dangerous people: Republican voting conservatives. Among other things, the professors took pride in convincing conservatives to support gay and lesbian domestic partnership legislation, more than a decade before same sex marriage became widespread.
"That's great," I affirmed. "I've supported gay and lesbian marriage since the 1970s. So what have they convinced you of?"
Awkward silence followed. Clearly, I hadn't gotten the memo. Any good social scientist should know that groups like Common Ground exist not to exchange views in search of common ground but to get conservatives to back liberal causes. Just between us professors, we know the score: Conservatives are not necessarily evil, but they are ignorant provincials, as Barack Obama later said, who “cling to guns or religion or antipathy to...