While the term cultural war had initially been limited to references of religious coalitions that characteristically superseded denominational borders in relation to political mobilization, same sex marriages has gained entry in the cultural war arena because it represents a hot-button social issue. Since these cultural wars; or rather a fervent public debate of social issues, are inextricably linked to politics, so is the gay marriage issue. Such hot public debates have for centuries been responsible for winning the support of the American electorate.
1974 marked the first wave of anti-gay ballot campaigns. It is prudent to note that the anti-gay movement was mainly composed of religiously motivated activism and political conservatism. The movement was centrally geared towards the opposition of any form of legal equality for gays, lesbians and bisexuals. However, with the passing of years, pro-gay movement advocacy counteracted by directing their efforts towards the repeal of statutes that legitimize discrimination on the basis of gender and sexual orientation. Between 1972-1980, gay issues rose to occupy a prominent role in presidential politics.
During this period, the gay minority was overwhelmed by the numerous anti-gay ballot campaigns cutting across the country. To stem the anti-gay movement, pro-gay activists sought legal equality from Democratic Party leaders. The inclusion of Gay rights language in the 1972 Democratic Party political platform marked the beginning of the same sex movement (Cahill, 67). The leadership of subsequent GOP candidates like Ronald Reagan, John Conolly and George Bush Junior and George Bush Senior was characterized by a stalwart anti-gay stance.
The AIDS epidemic and the substantial passage of sexual orientation non-discrimination laws failed to promote affirmative action or grant special rights to the gays and lesbians. In fact, as far and politics is concerned, debates have been localized on equality for all. However, anti-gay activists and political pundits have been quick to point out that with regard to legal matters, legalization of gay marriages will be akin to granting some groups special rights and privileges. Growth in public opinions supporting gay marriage and internet technology has taken the gay marriage debate a notch higher.
Democrats have consistently supported the enactment of sexual orientation non-discrimination laws. From 2004, public opinion and attitudes about same sex marriages and gay rights issues became dramatically more liberal. However, on a national scale public opinions have been against the legalization of same sex marriages. In fact, many states moved forward to clarify that marriage could only occur between a man and a woman creating a shot run decline in supporting policies advancing gay rights (Rimermman & Wilcox, 215).
Public opposition to civil unions is rooted on traditional Christian American values which prohibit such unions hence the defense of marriage argument. Gay marriage became a central point in the 2008 elections and it acted in the favor of Democrats. Since GOP had been demonstratively hostile to gay rights issues for decades, Democrats took the advantage with regard to improving public opinion about homosexuality and improving support for civil unions. Statistically, almost 50% of Democrats and Independents supported gay marriages as compared to a meager 19% of Republicans.
These statistics partially accounted for the victory of Barrack Obama in the 2008 presidential election. Conclusively, even those several gay rights issues remain unresolved; growing tolerance of lesbianism and homosexuality as well as the increasing advocacy for equal rights for all will continue to thrust gay marriage into prominence in political debates and with extension, the electioneering process. Works Cited Cahill, Sean Robert. Same-sex marriage in the United States: focus on the facts. Lexington Books, 2004; 64-72. Rimmerman, Craig A. & Wilcox, Clyde. The Politics of same sex marriage. University of Chicago Press, 2007; 214-221.