Quacking on the Wrong Side of History

Bigots like 'Duck Dynasty's' Phil Robertson won't prevent the march towards gay equality.

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In case you missed it amid the national obsession with Phil Robertson and "Duck Dynasty" last week, gay couples were able to marry for the first time in two western states. There is now marriage equality in New Mexico and Utah, which is the reddest state in the union. A commentator pointed out that gay marriage is now legal in all of the states where Mitt Romney owns homes. Take that Phil!

Despite the rants of bigots like Robertson, marriage equality spreads across the nation. Gay marriage is now legal in 18 states, including three of the five most populated states in the U.S.: California, New York and Illinois. The cause marches on because Phil Robertson is on the wrong side of the cultural divide.

[2013: The Year in Cartoons]

There a time when the cry of God, Guns and Gays spread terror in the hearts of Democrats. Those days are long one. Now it's time for Republican ears to burn when they hear that phrase. A majority of Americans support gay marriage (56 percent support and 39 percent oppose, according to a CBS News National Poll) and a vast majority of Americans support efforts to curb gun violence such as buyer background checks (85 percent support and 12 percent oppose). It's unfortunate that the death Saturday of 17-year-old Claire Davis, wounded in the Arapahoe High School shooting, went largely unnoticed.

One of the reasons for President Obama's re-election last year was the support that he received for his positions on cultural issues. A plurality of the Americans who voted last year supported marriage equality (49 percent support and 46 percent oppose, according to a national exit poll).

If conservatives hope that gay marriage campaign will just run of gas, they are due for a rude awakening. Public support for gay marriage is hugely popular with young Americans, which means support for equality will just keep on growing. In the last year, the CBS polls indicate the number of Americans who support gay marriage has grown from 46 percent to 56 percent.

[See a collection of political cartoons on gay marriage.]

The more support for marriage equality grows, the more resistance there will be from the dwindling group of diehards like Robertson who are making the culture war's last stand. 11 million Americans watch "Duck Dynasty," but there are millions more who want gays to have the same legal rights most people enjoy. But because there still are millions of cultural dead enders, bigots like Phil Robertson and Rush Limbaugh can still make lots of money being offensive.

And "Duck Dynasty" fans need not worry. Phil Robertson will be back on A&E a lot sooner than Martin Bashir will reappear on MSNBC after his disparaging comments about Sarah Palin.  A&E had already shot several episodes of "Duck Dynasty" for the new season. So suspension or not, Phil will be back on the network in a few weeks on January 15th. My guess is that Robertson's timeout will lapse before A&E needs to shoot more episodes. Unlike Martin Bashir's dismissal, Robertson's suspension is the suspension that Americans probably will never notice.

  • Read Susan Milligan: 'Duck Dynasty' Defenders Learn the Meaning of the First Amendment
  • Read Jamie Chandler: 'Duck Dynasty's' Phil Robertson Isn't a Political Correctness Victim
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