That may be true. I would be naive to suggest that the Obama camp didn't have extensive meetings on this subject. But I am also willing to give him the benefit of the doubt--that the story he told of his "evolution" is true. Because that is my journey too.
I don't think I knew any openly gay people until my 30s. SOF and I have been trying to recount the first time we met someone out of the closet. Certainly in my high school there were people we suspected as gay, but none were open. Like Fallows, I wonder how many times I used anti-gay slurs around gay people without knowing? I hope I didn't.
In that context, gays were always illicit and perverse. And, of course, it ran right into the complex sexual awakening of teen years, so any challenge to that was always difficult. But, as Obama notes, times have changed. I have had several gay colleagues, and we have neighbors who have been together longer than our nearly 24 years. It becomes increasingly hard to dismiss that kind of relationship.
Obama noted that his daughters had friends with same-sex parents, and it was inconceivable to Sasha and Malia that those parents were somehow less than their own. That is the generational gap that so many evangelicals and conservatives don't see. The younger kids are around openly gay people--in their family or circle of friends. They see them as humans, not as deviants. And, as Rachel Held Evans notes, that is also true in conservative evangelical circles. Watching her social media feeds Tuesday evening, she saw the divide.
Christians over 40 were celebrating. Christians under 40 were mourning. Reading through the comments, the same thought kept returning to my mind as occurred to me when I first saw that Billy Graham ad: You’re losing usI don't think they can change, however. The entire conservative movement right now is consumed with trying to stop the country from changing into a world where white and straight privilege don't dominate.
They won't win this war, I don't think. But the casualties will be many.