From Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/nancy-cohen-phd/sexual-counterrevolution-_b_1372923.html?ref=elections-2012
Nancy L. Cohen
Americans "have a constitutional right to be gay." So said Barry Goldwater, the 1964 right-wing Republican presidential candidate, in 1994. How the Republican Party has changed. Indeed, how the GOP changed goes a long way toward explaining America's national political delirium.
We've grown so accustomed to a Republican Party consumed with gay marriage, abortion, and now even birth control that many Americans likely do not know it was ever any other way. The GOP bills itself as the party of small government and personal liberty, and in an earlier day, when the GOP was the party of women's rights and Planned Parenthood, that claim was true enough. As David Frum recently pointed out, Republicans in the '40s and '50s were the ones who tried to repeal Connecticut's state ban on the sale of birth control, only to be voted down again and again by Democrats.
The Republicans' live-and-let-live tradition first came under lethal attack in the 1970s, in the wake of the sexual revolution and the women's and gay rights movements. Those cultural and social movements revolutionized sex, gender roles, the family, the workplace, and popular culture in the space of a little more than a decade. Simultaneously, and in large part responding to these social movements, Congress outlawed gender discrimination, the Supreme Court ruled that laws against birth control and abortion were unconstitutional, half the states repealed their sodomy laws, and local governments passed anti-discrimination laws to protect gays and lesbians.
Most Americans ultimately welcomed the expansion of personal and sexual freedom. Yet given that the government had long been in the business of legislating puritanical sexual mores, it is understandable that those who thought the old ways were just fine, thank you, chose to wage their reactionary, theologically based crusade through the political system.
The GOP's recent bender over birth control, sex, women, and gays isn't an aberration. It is the logical result of 40 years of sexual counterrevolution.