Commenter Lomlate makes the interesting suggestion that, contrary to what Bill Muehlenberg suggests, gay marriage poses a bigger threat to the current nature of gay life than it does to the nature of straight sexual relationships.
Though some commenters argued that gay sexual culture is what you get when there is no need to persuade sex-shy and relationship-oriented women, and that straight men would behave the same way if they had the chance, Lomlate suggests that gay sexual culture is what you get when gay people are excluded from the relationships that straight people aspire to and mostly attain. The more accepted gays become, and the more gays can imagine themselves having ‘normal’ relationships, the less need there will be for a separate gay culture or community.
Lomlate cites Andrew Sullivan on the ‘end of gay culture’, and this passage sums up what Sullivan thinks is going on:
A gay child born today will grow up knowing that, in many parts of the world and in parts of the United States, gay couples can get married just as their parents did. From the very beginning of their gay lives, in other words, they will have internalized a sense of normality, of human potential, of self-worth–something that my generation never had and that previous generations would have found unimaginable. That shift in consciousness is as profound as it is irreversible.
That was written in 2005. The Australian Not So Private Lives survey from last year showed just how strongly the gay generations differ in how they see their relationship possibilities. The youngest respondents are twice as likely to personally aspire to marriage as the oldest respondents.
As other gay marriage opponents have done, Muehlenberg notes the slow take-up of gay marriage when it has been made available. But the figure above suggests that this will change over time. One of the great ironies of this debate is that family values conservatives are standing with the radical queer activists against culturally-accepted and legally-endorsed monogamous relationships.