Gay couples aren't going back in the closet. They're going to live together and raise families. If they wed, it strengthens conservative norms.
Love and marriage, love and marriage
Go together like a horse and carriage.
This I tell ya, brother:
You can't have one without the other.
-- Frank Sinatra, 1955
This week, voters in North Carolina, where same-sex marriage was already prohibited, passed a constitutional amendment against the practice, while President Obama, who wields no direct power over state marriage laws, finally affirmed that he favors full marriage rights for gays and lesbians.
These were both symbolic moves. Social conservatives assert that North Carolinians were standing up for traditional marriage while Obama was betraying it, an analysis that they earnestly believe.
But there's something they don't understand.
Gays in North Carolina and everywhere else in the United States are never returning to the closet. Gay couples are going to be on television sitcoms, in movies, and dining at downtown restaurants on Saturday nights. Kids are going to have gay friends in school, and they're going to have straight friends with gay parents. As older people die and kids grow into teens and adults, acceptance of gays as normal is only going to increase. The question that remains is how these gay couples are going to live. When they live together or raise children together, are they going to marry?