Jonathan Last at The Weekly Standard has the best explanation I’ve seen yet of what really is at stake in the drive for same-sex marriage. He calls it and the gay rights movement a “bait and switch,” and the title of the piece gets to the totalitarian nature of modern progressivism: “You Will be Assimilated.” This is must reading, especially for those good-hearted souls who see allowing gay couples to marry as all about equality and fairness. It most definitely is not about that, and for most ideologically driven progressives it never has been. Last argues that
the same-sex marriage movement is interested in a great deal more than just the freedom to form marital unions. It is also interested, quite keenly, in punishing dissenters. But the ambitions of the movement go further than that, even. It’s about revisiting legal notions of freedom of speech and association, constitutional protections for religious freedom, and cultural norms concerning the family. And most Americans are only just realizing that these are the societal compacts that have been pried open for negotiation.
Same-sex marriage supporters see this cascade of changes as necessary for safeguarding progress against retrograde elements in society. People less deeply invested in same-sex marriage might see it as a bait-and-switch. And they would be correct. But this is hardly new. Bait-and-switch has been the modus operandi of the gay rights movement not, perhaps, from the start, but for a good long while.
I’ve always been surprised that some well-meaning conservatives and libertarians buy into the notion that all this fuss about marriage was simply an issue of fairness. The modern progressive is only interested in fairness if you agree with them, and if not, you will be silenced. You will figuratively be tarred and feathered, in this case as a retrograde bigot, in others as a sexist, racist, rapist, denier, whatever suites their ideological fancy. We’ve seen what this “fairness” agenda has wrought in some highly publicized examples that Last talks about, but that will be a drop in the bucket should the Supreme Court by divine fiat declare gay marriage the law of the land.