Same-Sex Marriage and the Changing Face of Religious Politics in the United States

Friday, January 8, 2010: 3:10 PM
Elizabeth Ballroom D (Hyatt)
Heather White , The New College of Florida, Poughkeepsie, NY
My paper frames current religious activism around Proposition 8 in a longer history of religious involvement around gay rights. Since the 1976 “Save the Children” campaign spearheaded by Anita Bryant, anti-gay religious groups have constituted the dominant face of religious action around gay rights. From the 1950s and through the early 70s, however, the most prominent religious voices were those of liberal Christian advocates for gay rights issues. My paper analyzes this reversal, which I argue marks important shifts in religious groups' rationales for political involvement. I also suggest that current debates over same-sex marriage may mark yet another shift; liberal religious support has drawn renewed media attention, and those liberal religious leaders also position their activism in new ways.