A bit North, the editorial-pages director of the Ottawa Citizen, Leonard Stern, predicts a last gasp of anti-gay, anti-same-sex-marriage voters this fall. In PM Stephen Harper's kabuki in Canada, the rural aged will get to vent and go off quietly to crunch on the tundra.
He looks on both sides of the border and sees accelerated social shifts, the cultural glacier sliding right along.
"A population can, in one generation, reject a whole set of inherited prejudices," he notes. He supports this with a lot of U.S. stats. Key examples include:
- Percentages of Americans who say that homosexual relations are always wrong have gone from 80% two decades ago to 55% four years ago and surely less now.
- Recently, 89% said homosexuals deserve equal job rights.
- 30 years ago, most people wanted to ban gay elementary teachers. Now 70% are indifferent.
- Meanwhile the percentage saying adultery is always wrong has gone from 70% in 1973 to 80% in 2004.
While our states were slamming their aunt and uncle windows, most Canadian provinces were getting on with life. Here, 19 states shuddered in paranoia, to a one fearful of the contagion from Massachusetts.
Yet, Harper was able to reel in the reactionaries for his recent minority government with promises of a free vote on repealing SSM. Most of Canada would rather deal with real and present problems, like the economy. A few are like the snapping turtle that won't let go.
Yet, as Stern notes, "Most of these holdouts are rural folk or people older than 60. The data are clear on that. Very soon, resistance to gay marriage will be concentrated in seniors' residences and on disappearing farms.
"I suspect Harper is personally reconciled to the inevitability of gay marriage, but feels compelled to hold a vote to appease parts of his political base. So let them have their vote. It'll be their last stand."
That's a little sad, but it's sadder still that we here lag behind them.
Tags: massmarrier, Canada, United States, same sex marriage, Stephen Harper