The latest Mere Fidelity podcast has just gone online. This week, the full cast are back to discuss the recent Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage. Among other things, we discuss the differences between US and UK responses to the legalization of same-sex marriage.
Matt recently posted on the subject here and I have some thoughts of my own over on the Theopolis Institute.
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Anderson’s comment regarding legislative action versus judicial action strikes me as a bit of an overgeneralization. After all, if the US had a parliamentary system, same-sex marriage would have been legislatively enacted. Due the the peculiarities of the US two-party system (where about 30% of voters are unaffiliated with either party), a minority group that makes up only 20% of the population can effectively thwart the will of the majority if it aligns itself rather uniformly with one party. In the 1950s and early ’60s, segregationists consistently halted the passage of civil rights legislation in this way. In the last 30 years, evangelicals have halted socially progressive legislation in this way. In the end, the judiciary has to step in and break the impasse. But when it does so, it is usually acting in a way that is consistent with majority opinion (or emerging majority opinion) on the issue.
If there’s resentment toward evangelicals in the US, it is because they are consistently seeking to manipulate this weakness in the two-party system to thwart legislative action that is favored by the majority of Americans (even if many who favor it view other issues as more important). In this sense, evangelicals are viewed as exploiting a weakness in the two-party system to secure benefits for themselves at others’ expense. This is what engenders so much resentment toward evangelicals from non-evangelicals, and what fuels the sense that evangelicals merit some kind of punishment once the courts intervene and bring an end to the evangelicals’ exploitation.