From Ronald Balmer, writing an OpEd in the L.A. Times:
Evangelicals like to present their position as biblical and therefore immutable. They want us to believe that they have never before adjusted to shifting public sentiments on sexuality and marriage. That is not so.
Divorce — and especially divorce and remarriage — was once such an issue, an issue about which evangelicals would brook no compromise. But evangelicals eventually reconfigured their preaching and adapted just fine to changing historical circumstances.
When I was growing up within the evangelical subculture in the 1960s, divorce was roundly condemned by evangelicals. Jesus, after all, was pretty clear on the issue. “And I say to you,” he told the Pharisees, “whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery.”
Anyone who was divorced was ostracized in evangelical circles. In some congregations, membership was rescinded, and at the very least the divorcee felt marginalized. Any evangelical leader who divorced his spouse could expect to look for a different job.
Although evangelical attitudes changed incrementally over many years, it’s possible to identify the real turning point with a fair amount of accuracy: 1980.
Not long ago I surveyed the pages of Christianity Today, the flagship magazine of evangelicalism and a bellwether of evangelical sentiments. Condemnations of divorce, which had been a regular feature in the 1970s, ceased almost entirely after 1980.
More telling, the “family values” movement, which took off in 1980, largely ignored this once crucial subject. Jerry Falwell and other conservative preachers attacked abortion, feminism and homosexuality, but they rarely mentioned divorce.
What happened? In a word (or two words): Ronald Reagan. When leaders of the religious right decided to embrace Reagan as their political messiah, they had to swallow hard.
He makes a good point, not only does same-sex marriage NOT harm marriage [or procreation] writ large, but the actual threat to the union of two committed and consenting citizens….has become commonplace, whereas once…..it was as reviled as is the current drama.