The argument that gay marriage is about tolerance is not a new one. Those that support it many times fancy themselves as the sort of folks that show sympathy and empathy to folks and ideas that others not as tolerant find unacceptable. They see other's resistence due to bigotry, closed mindedness, and intolerance.
It is rather ironic that folks that support gay marriage see those that don't as bigoted, closed minded, and intolerant, because they are also the sort that believe in evolution. Of course, they don't merely believe in evolution. Often they see those that believe in creationism as kooky and unreasonable.
Now, what in the world is a question about evolution over creationism doing in a debate over who is best served to be President?
In fact, it is the point that Huckabee made in the debate. As Huckabee points out, he believes that God created the heavens and the Earth. He said that if you want to believe that we grew out of apes that is your right, but he believe human life, and all life in general, is a miracle borne out of God's work. I don't know which is right, but frankly, Huckabee's belief certainly sounds like the one I want to be correct.
It is in fact largely irrelevant except in the minds of those that believe in evolution. They see those that believe in creationism as kooks and zealots. Rather than respecting their religious based beliefs, they look down upon their beliefs as unintelligent. The only reason such a question is asked of Presidential candidates is because the questioner believes that those that proclaim allegiance to creationism will be seen as kooks and zealots. That's because that's the way the questioners see them.
This flared up again because Bobby Jindal announced that he supports the teaching of intelligent design.
This caused great consternation in certain circles. Plenty of so called tolerant folks were shocked that Jindal would dare suggest that it be taught that the Earth may in fact have been created by a force greater than man. Here is how John Derbyshire put it.
And Then Her Head Swiveled Right Round! [John Derbyshire]
As a Republican living in a liberal neighborhood, I spend a lot of time defending the GOP against sneers about us being (as one of my friends puts it) "the snake-handling party." Bobby Jindal sure isn't making it any easier.
What neighborhood does Derbyshire live in? I don't know but I suspect it is the sort of neighborhood that is very tolerant of gay marriage. It is the sort of neighborhood that sees resistence to gay marriage as some sort of bigoted intolerance. It appears folks like that have only so much tolerance. If we are talking about a secular progressive issue like gay marriage, then they expect and demand tolerance. If, on the other hand, it is a traditional issue like the belief in God, then there is no more room for tolerance. Like I said, there is a great deal of irony in someone proclaiming that they are more tolerant because they believe in gay marriage because that same person is likely to turn around and be very intolerant to your belief in God.