How the fight against gay marriage fizzled

The Atlantic's Molly Ball reports on the failure of conservative activists to follow through on new legislation opposing gay marriage.

The backlash that gay-marriage opponents expected as a result does not appear to be materializing. Instead, in states like Arizona, Mississippi, and Kansas, lawmakers have largely backed down from attempts to protect religious dissenters after a national outcry branding the bills discriminatory.

Most famously, Arizona's Republican governor, Jan Brewer, vetoed that state's Senate Bill 1062 late last month, saying it had the potential to "divide Arizona in ways we cannot even imagine" and that while "religious liberty is a core American and Arizona value, so is non-discrimination."

What's at the heart of the rapid public change of heart, even among conservatives? Consider the sincere belief among many that homosexuality is a choice. Now, if for the purpose of discussion you accept this viewpoint, gay marriage changes the nature of that choice. It imbues the choice with social and familial outcomes that are more appealing to conservatives.

In other words, it's always useful to remember that only ~69.3 percent of the people who oppose gay marriage are creepy right-wing nuts waking sweatily to dreams of repressed cock-hunger. Some of them are just frightened of change, and can be won over.