Would you support gay marriage as a 1916 presidential candidate?

Say you were a presidential candidate in the year 1916; around a century ago. Would you support gay marriage (a popular position in 2016, but almost unfathomable in 1916,) or not?

I’m me because I was born in 1984, so if you take the question that way, and invent a flux capacitor, it’s all about how much I want to be President in 1916. I’m firmly in the “Internet and laparoscopic appendectomy” camp, so, no, I have no intention of becoming President over a half-century before packet-switching computer networks were invented, so I’d write a series of tracts which would then have been illegal to mail and try my best to get back home.

Taking it the other way, and asking whether a young man born in the early 1880s would have supported gay marriage, is rather a dumb question, don’t you think?

This is SDMB overanalysis and dodging the question. The point of this poll is whether people support what they support or oppose what they oppose regardless of the prevailing public sentiment of the time.

No matter how you spin it, the question is ludicrous.

Many do. If the modern me traveled back in time to run for president, I would support gay marriage but only say something about it if asked. I doubt anyone asked about gay marriage back then, so I’d probably be politically safe (with a politically suicidal position). If elected, I would take subtle actions to try and protect gay people, black people, etc., from brutalization and oppression, and to try and slowly sway public opinion.

It would have taken an act of Divine Intervention for someone born in the latter 19th Century to have formed latter 20th Century/early 21st Century social attitudes. As late as the middle of the 20th Century, the progressive idea about gays was that homosexuality was a mental disorder but that there was nothing morally wrong with them, any more than there was anything morally wrong with epileptics or the retarded. The idea that homosexuality was normal and not pathological was the domain of the Mattachine Society, which was very much a secret society organized in a cell structure like the Communist Party was during the Red Scares.

So yes, morality is driven in part by culture, and that is completely uncontroversial among adults. Do you have any other point?

Yes, because why not? I’m female and wouldn’t have a chance of hell of getting elected. Or voting, for that matter.

I think my position would probably be similar in both eras (assuming that I’m me transported back in time).

However, my position doesn’t really fit any of the options. I think there are certain things you should not do from a moral standpoint that the government should not stop you from doing from a legal standpoint.

So, transporting me back to 1916, same-sex marriage itself is not an issue I’d actively pursue or define myself by. However, my position would be a much more general one of moving the government away from enforcing morality. Back then, I’d have so many more pressing issues to work on than same-sex marriage. For example, the Comstock laws that made pornography, birth control, sex education, sex toys and other “obscenities” illegal. In 1916, birth control was a major issue (given the arrest of the Sangers in 1915 and 1918), and I’d be a major opponent of the Comstock laws.

Going after Comstock earlier would certainly have helped the same sex marriage cause indirectly, since those laws included banning the discussion of homosexuality, not overturned in our timeline until 1958.

Well, how did you get that safe driving bonus check?

Re the OP: I wouldn’t have been a candidate then, any more than I would be now. I’m constantly amused by the idea that we would have all been amongst the leaders of the past. Most of us would have been serfs of sorts. Uneducated, illiterate, and ignorant.

I would have voted for Teddy Roosevelt.

If I were to travel back in time and run for President in 1916, I would not put gay marriage on my platform because it would doom my campaign, and turn me into an insignificant fringe candidate. Whatever my reasons for deciding to go into the past and try to become President, it would be silly to shoot myself in the foot that way.

It doesn’t really make sense to talk about same-sex marriage in a society where the law imposed very different rights and responsibilities on the roles of “husband” and “wife”. I think a prerequisite for marriage equality (in the sense of SSM) was equality in marriage between men and women.

So I wouldn’t have supported SSM in 1916 because it wouldn’t really have made sense, given what marriage meant in that era. This is kind of related to the “definition of marriage” arguments of anti-SSM people. They just don’t seem to realise that the definition of marriage already changed, not because of SSM but because of gender equality.

Actually, that was only true for about half the states at the time.

The 19th amendment gave all women the right to vote, but many states had already adopted women’s suffrage before that amendment passed.

This is a time when black people are still being tied to trees and lit on fire. I honestly can’t see gay marriage ever coming up.


I’d support it in the same sense that I’d support internet voting.

Probably not, because the idea would’ve been absolutely ludicrous at the time. The idea of homosexual relationships even being legal would’ve been scandalous. I doubt that most people would have been able to wrap their heads around the concept.

Hell, the idea of allowing interracial marriage at that time would’ve been shocking enough!

MA eliminated anti-miscegenation laws in the 1840s. States that never had them: Connecticut, New Hampshire, New York, New Jersey, Vermont, Wisconsin, and Minnesota.

Only a very few — maybe a handful in each country — could have imagined homosexual marriage ( in the abstract ); and they would have mostly been professional sexologists ( such as, but with no reference to this particular problem [ except for Carpenter ]: Edward Carpenter, Kraft-Ebbing, Gavin Arthur, Alfred Kinsey and Leopold v. Sacher-Masoch ), and believe me they all had their own problems.
Enormous problems.
Carpenter was born in 1844.

It’s never been illegal, nor unaccepted in Britain ( and prolly the rest of Europe except for the brief nazi/fascist period ).

It wasn’t admired, but neither were people shunned. It was just weird. Whereas advocating gay marriage would be considered grounds for a short sharp stay in a loony-bin: maybe 30 years…
One of the Garnetts wrote a depressing novel about a sailor who marries a bonnie black lass and brings her to live in the 19th century Cotswolds(?).
Of course banning interracial marriage — even if any of the Churches ever considered it, which seems wack-doodle impossible — would have delegitimized the offspring of many British sailors, not just pirates, and that would have been considered a hideous offence against christian morals ( particularly when they were sending missionaries all over the place to convert the heathen, much to the annoyance of both the heathen and the British government ).

Actually, I misspelt: it should have been von Krafft-Ebing.
In my defence, such works as his lose their appeal after the age of 16.

America didn’t have a general practice of banning interracial marriage, anti-miscegenation laws typically only applied to black-white relationships, and even when they were more broadly written they were typically only enforced on black-white couples. Particularly black males with white women, white men with black women was less likely to get the attention of the courts.

Several Confederate Generals had Native American wives and children with them. This wasn’t uncommon for men who had been in the U.S. Army deployed in the Western frontier in the 20 years prior to the ACW, that was a time/place in which the male/female ratio among the white population was way out of whack so a lot of the white men established relationships with Native American women. Some left them high and dry when they got recalled to the Eastern States, but some actually married them.