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05/08/2015

When did same-sex marriage become morally acceptable to you?

A same-sex marriage decision is due from the Supreme Court June. Given it has been almost exactly a decade since I changed my position on same-sex marriage, I figure now is a good time to reflect on the nature of that change.

Until about my sophomore year of college I was against same-sex marriage. Moreover I opposed same-sex rights and found homosexuality in general to be immoral. I’m not particularly proud of those views but I think there is something instructive in understanding why I held them and how I changed them.
My views changed for a variety of reasons: arguments with friends, meeting lots of real people who weren’t heterosexual, and investigating the core ethical arguments being made on both sides. My path is not unique. A majority of the country opposed same-sex marriage up until just a few years ago. When I was growing up in the 90s most of the country opposed gay marriage.

It is extremely important to remember that anti-same-sex laws like DOMA were not the result of some theocratic minority. They weren’t even the result of Republicans. Those laws were a clear reflection of honest opinions held by the majority of Americans at the time. What is more important to remember is that most of those people changed their mind just like I did over the past 20 years.

If we accept any sort of ethical truth as existing, we need to acknowledge that most of us were on the wrong side of this argument and were so for a long long time. Many of us voted for laws and politicians who openly opposed or quietly denied equal rights for same-sex marriage. Yet very few of us talk about changing our minds or our conversion experience. I’m willing to bet many of you do not even remember thinking differently than you do now. But work at it, think back, remember.

My question to all of you, and the answers I’d love to hear emailed and tweeted: “When did you realize same-sex marriage was ethical?”

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