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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

Sophomore LHP Shane Sdao (38) reacts after a strikeout during Texas A&Ms game against Texas at Disch-Falk Field on Tuesday, March 5, 2024. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)
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Junior Mary Stoiana reacts during Texas A&M’s match against Oklahoma at the NCAA Women’s Tennis Regional at Mitchell Tennis Center on Sunday, May 5, 2024. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)
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Beekeeper Shelby Dittman scoops bees back into their hive during a visit on Friday, April 5, 2024. (Kyle Heise/The Battalion)
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Kennedy White, 19, sits for a portrait in the sweats she wore the night of her alleged assault inside the Y.M.C.A building that holds Texas A&M’s Title IX offices in College Station, Texas on Feb. 16, 2024 (Ishika Samant/The Battalion).
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Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
The BattalionMay 4, 2024

Same-sex marriage shifts in public perception

 
 

As the U.S. awaits upcoming Supreme Court decisions regarding The Federal Defense of Marriage Act and California’s Proposition 8, the debate regarding the legality of same-sex marriage continues. Shifting viewpoints on the matter has led to major political ramifications as well as an evolving social construct.
A gradual shift in public opinion on the legalization of same-sex marriage now seems to be gaining momentum, according to a new poll conducted by the Pew Research Center. Americans’ views on same-sex marriage have gone from significant disapproval – 33% in favor and 58% against in 2003- to near-majority support – 49% in favor and 41% against a decade later.
Aggie Allies, a student organization that supports the Texas A&M GLBT community, remains proactive as it waits with the rest of the nation for a Supreme Court decision. Its third annual “Hands Across Aggieland” march on Friday called on community members to march across campus to promote equality and justice for GLBT-identifying individuals.
Michelle Gardner, vice president of Aggie Allies, said the march was the largest and most successful to date.
Dominique Hernandez, junior agricultural communications major, said he joined the march because he has many gay friends who continue to experience discrimination.
“When gay people in the community find out they are not alone, they become stronger through unity,” Hernandez said. “Through power in numbers they can establish a major influence in a school that has a more conservative history.”
Texas A&M political science professor Joseph Ura researches linkages between enacted federal policies and national public opinion. Ura said the structural advancements of the gay rights movement on a national level have contributed immensely to the evolution of the American opinion.
“In the late ’90s, the frontier of gay rights was more focused on anti-discrimination laws in the work place, the advancement of civil unions and so forth,” Ura said. “Now the movement has become more settled at the national stage focusing on the debate of same-sex marriage and because of this, the debate has been changing to an issue of equal rights rather than an issue of morality. This different frame helps people on the fence to come down in favor.”
Ura said a change in demographics has had a significant impact in the polls and as a result, commercial advertising and public entertainment have become more supportive of pro-gay rights.
“I tend to believe that pop culture is strictly consumer driven,” Ura said. “They show what people want to see. The growing support of gay rights in the media is simply a product of a new American mindset.”
Terry Anderson, a Texas A&M history professor, said this mindset is spurred by an increase in the prevalence of social media.
“The current generation of youth is much more tolerant to the GLBT community than any other generation,” Anderson said. “People aged between 18 and 40 are really starting to take control of the American culture and it’s exciting because it proves the success of the Civil Rights Movement.”
He said this sway in national opinion has a strong political affect.
“Why do you think [President Barack] Obama recently came out in favor of same-sex marriage? It’s because youth, aged 18 to 30, overwhelming support the president,” Anderson said. “The generation of intolerance is a part of the past.”
The Republican National Committee affirmed its stance against same-sex marriage last week in establishing a consensus to urge the Supreme Court to uphold Proposition 8.
Some Republicans, such as Ohio Senator Rob Portman, have expressed support of the legalization of same-sex marriage. More than two-dozen Republicans, including an advisor to 2012 Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, signed a legal brief in February pushing the Supreme Court to declare gay marriage a constitutional right.
Many Americans still remain hesitant about the idea of same-sex marriage, however, with religion often cited as a reason.
Holly Webb, sophomore communication major, said she was against same-sex marriage for her religious beliefs.
“Because of my biblical beliefs I think that marriage should remain between a man and a woman,” Webb said. “Many people have attempted to refute the Bible by taking verses out of context, but if you really know the Bible and read it then you will understand what it says is right and wrong.”
Although Webb said she is opposed to the legalization of same-sex marriage, she said the stance should not be misinterpreted as an idea of hate, homophobia or intolerance.
“When I look at a homosexual person, I might disagree with what they do, but that being said, I’ll continue to show compassion and love for them just as I would with anyone else,” Webb said.

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