Originally published 22 May 2008.
Ah, the contemporary conservative... it's such an interesting position to be in, grabbing onto the back of a train, digging your heels in the ground, being pulled forward - like it or not - anyway, effectively doing nothing more than slowing down the train's progress. And annoying the conductor...
It's always the same with conservatives: new ideas are presented, the conservative reflexively condemns it, a pointless and time-wasting struggle ensues, progressives win, the conservatives eventually accept the new position and pretend that they always supported it.
It's only a few decades since the American Supreme Court forbade Anti-Miscegenation laws. Those, for those who don't know, were laws that existed in a good many states banning marriages between the races. In several states of the US, it was illegal as late at 1967 for a black person to marry a white person.
I put the date in italics, because it came to me as a surprise and hopefully will come to you as a surprise too. The simple basic reality that no government could possibly have the right in good conscience to forbid marriages based on skin colour is so firmly entrenched now that, outside of radical fringe and hate groups, you wouldn't find anyone seriously taking issue with it. Ask any member of the Republican Party in the USA and (unless they're being candid) they'll tell you how much they support the freedom and human rights of 'mixed' couples.
Forty years. A blink of an eye.
Why did it take so long for those laws to be repealed? It was those damned train-draggers, digging their heels in and fighting progress just for the sake of fighting it. Instead of showing contrition and humility and admitting that they were wrong, the conservative approach is to be shamed into accepting the new reality, and then pretending that they always did.
So last week the Supreme Court of California voted to overturn its ban on same-sex marriages - a decision that unfortunately at present we're obliged to regard as a 'breakthrough' and a 'landmark' (even though it's shameful that it's taken this long). It's great to see, even though the journey is far from complete. As can be expected, the knee-jerk reaction from 'social conservatives' has already begun: the screaming, the haranguing, the beside-the-point Godtalk...
Just as surely, we can alread start writing the history books for, oh, 2048 (just a guess). We can right now talk about the anti-progressives who so vehemently protested something that, by then, has become completely accepted.
And conservatives in 2048 will, of course, through gritted teeth pretend to have always supported same-sex marriages. Anybody publically denouncing the rights of all people to marry regardless of gender will be seen as representative of a radical fringe.
And the reason it'll take that long? No good reason whatsoever. Just conservatives doing what they do best: getting in the way...