One of the most significant cultural developments of recent decades has been the normalization of sexual love between women. This is but one of many cultural revolutions since the 1960s, but it’s an especially profound one. Divorce, promiscuity and male homosexuality were much less common, but they were still familiar. The phenomenon of “lesbianism” was virtually unknown 100 years ago. Women might have intense romantic friendships, but the idea of females making love, shacking up together and forming a permanent lifelong bond had almost no public circulation.
What were once secretive and shameful relationships have been transformed with astounding rapidity into an entire subculture with its own travel agencies, vacation resorts, neighborhoods and popular artists. This subculture has established roots seemingly overnight. It is the direct and inevitable outgrowth of a world view that conceives of male and female as purely anatomical realities and denies spiritual complementarity between the sexes. It reflects the devolution of courtship and married love between men and women. It stems also from something vitally healthy and normal: the craving for intimacy amid the dehumanizing anonymity of modern life.
But, is this subculture as unshakable as it now appears? It is not. The normalization of lesbianism cannot proceed, and indeed could collapse altogether, without one thing: marriage. Women want families. It is lesbians most of all who are behind the push for same-sex marriage. Yesterday’s passage of a referendum that repeals Maine’s same-sex marriage law is a significant development. The losses have mounted. In all 31 states that have put this issue before the voters, same-sex marriage has been rejected. I’m not suggesting that homosexual activists are about to give up, but the odor of defeat is in the air.
No one can deny that homosexual activists have had their say. The electorate has listened to their side of the story. It has listened patiently and acted with especial kindness and tolerance toward lesbians. As they have moved into neighborhoods and set up their unconventional households, they have not experienced widespread hostility, evictions, or ostracism. They represent a revolution that puzzles many people, but the average person would just as soon not think about it. They don’t seem to be hurting anyone so why object?
But the public has its limits. It does not want lesbians to marry.
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