At the always superb Public Discourse, Matthew J. Franck and Gwen Brown have a great essay on why same-sex marriage is becoming more “accepted”:
In the 1993 Seinfeld episode The Outing, a female reporter mistakes Jerry Seinfeld and his friend George Costanza for homosexual partners. When her misunderstanding dawns on them, they vehemently deny that they are gay, yet constantly punctuate their denials with the rote expression not that theres anything wrong with that! As heterosexual men, Jerry and George are both keen to be taken for what they are, but theres more to it than that: they cant entirely inhibit revulsion at the idea that others think they are homosexual, and perhaps revulsion at the very idea of being homosexual.
Their repeated exclamation not that theres anything wrong with that!invariably uttered with far less passion than their denialsis a socially conditioned response. Somewhere they have learned that it is unacceptable to cast aspersions on homosexuality, and that the politically correct response is to say (as Jerry does at one point, albeit rather too excitedly), Peoples personal sexual preferences are nobodys business but their own! Jerry and George struggle to suppress what they really think with what they have been taught to think is enlightened opinion. Call it the Seinfeld Effect.
Seventeen years later, the advocates of same-sex marriage are making peoples personal sexual preferences everybodys business, and are counting on the Seinfeld Effect to suppress what most Americans really think about same-sex marriage.