Why is it that those who opposed equal rights for African-American men and women, now oppose same-sex marriage? If someone had opposed the right of African-Americans to vote 50 years ago, there is almost no chance that they will support the rights of gays to marry.
In fact, that person is likely to support the jailing of someone for having sex with a consenting adult of the same sex. Now, there aren't many people alive, if any, who opposed suffrage. But those who did, during the 1960s, overwhelmingly opposed the right of African-American men or women to vote.
Of the states that seceded and left the Union in the 1860s, most were overwhelmingly the last states to pass the 19th Amendment, which gave the women voting rights 90 years ago. Only 3 of those 11 secession states were part of the 36 overall states necessary for ratification. Meanwhile, 8 out of the 12 states which passed it after ratification, were states that 35-45 years later (in the 1950s/60s) saw great opposition to civil rights.
Obviously, no coincidence. There wasn't support in that region for suffrage, and those older men in the 1950s who had opposed suffrage, obviously didn't support civil rights for African-Americans. Those men who opposed suffrage and were still alive in the 1990s, obviously were rabid opponents to same-sex marriage.
Do you see a pattern? The fact is, the regions of the nation that have opposed the rights of women, African-Americans and now gays, are all the most religious parts of the U.S. The parts of the nation that most supported these rights, were the most secular.
It is important to remember that being a member of the Democratic party doesn't make you a progressive. Those beaten on buses 50 years ago while trying to intergrate them, were progressives. Those beating them, weren't. Political parties are vehicles and do not necessarily represent the larger philosphical movements.
Now, not all conservatives oppose gay rights. Some recognize that conservatives again risk being on the wrong side of history. They risk alienating millions of young voters. Also, just because someone is from the South, does not mean that they oppose basic equality for their fellow Americans.
There are, of course, millions of progressives in the South now, as there were in the past. Alas, though, they are always a distinct minority. The most religious parts of the U.S. follow dogmatic tradition, authority and established culture norms. Of course, when unjust traditions, authorities and norms are swept out by the tide of greater liberty and freedom for more Americans, as will happen inevitably on same-sex marriage, than the conservative right-wing retreats and opposes a new group desiring liberty in latter decades.
Why do so many Americans continue to follow an ideological movement that time and time again on the big issues in society, has proven to be wrong?