Giving “Evolution” A Push

From Tolerance to Equality: How Elites Brought America to Same-Sex Marriage Darel E. PaulBaylor University Press, 2018; 256 pages, $39.95 Late last year, Romanian voters considered a constitutional amendment to confirm the nation’s definition of marriage as the union of a husband and wife (voter turnout did not meet the required threshold for the legal change to take place). European nations are divided on the legal definition of marriage, but a strong majority of those nations still retain the historically universal understanding of marriage in their laws. That is true of most of the world’s nations. The United States, like many Western nations, is different. There, a national Supreme Court decision in 2015 redefined legal marriage for the entire nation even though states are usually responsible for regulating family laws. At the time of the decision, 31 states had defined marriage as the union of husband and wife in their state constitutions (which required voter approval), but the decision was accepted with little uproar. What happened in the United States to cause this drastic change? The answer to that question may have important implications for other nations where the debate over marriage is still ongoing. Darel Paul, professor of political science at Williams College, has written a very careful and compelling account of this change which convincingly explains the shift. The preferred account, created by advocates for same-sex marriage, “emphasize[s] the role of activists and the process of moral growth” (like President Barack Obama’s famous “evolution” from personal and religious opposition to dogmatic support) towards acceptance of same-sex marriage. This, however, obscures “the contributions of Corporate America, normalization’s most powerful ally.” Dr. Paul explains how same-sex marriage “became the cause célèbre of the country’s rich and powerful” and how “corporate support came well before public support
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