Apr 06, 2007
Quickie Link: U of Chicago: Gay Rights & the 3rd Way
Legal recognition of same-sex relationships is a central issue in the so-called culture wars. Happily, for those of us who support the legal recognition of such relationships, there is now compelling evidence of a real shift in public attitudes. A recent study by The Third Way Culture Project, headed by Rachel Laser (J.D. '95), reveals "a general national warming trend on issues relating to gays and lesbians."
The Third Way report found that heterosexual Americans fall into roughly three equal size categories when it comes to gay issues. The "pro-gay polars" strongly support equal rights for gays and lesbians and do not attach any moral value to sexual orientation. Most of these individuals have come to this view over time and believe that the transformation in their thinking reflects significant insight, understanding, and personal growth. The "anti-gay polars" believe that being gay is "unnatural and against God." They tend to view gays as "societal outlaws." Although they generally oppose violence and bigotry directed against gays, they fear that extending equal rights to gays and lesbians would "put America on a dangerously wrong path." The third group, the "grays," are conflicted. They are torn between their desire to be tolerant, fair, and respectful of individual liberty and their lingering discomfort with homosexuality. The "grays" tend to accept that sexual orientation is not simply a matter of choosing a lifestyle, but they worry that "society is moving too fast."