A well-known atheist leader recently argued that he believes atheists in the United States can learn many lessons from same-sex marriage proponents regarding societal acceptance for their cause.
Herb Silverman, founder and president emeritus of the Secular Coalition for America, a widely-known atheist advocacy group, recently commended proponents of same-sex marriage for their efforts in promoting their cause, and suggested atheists take a similar approach to be more accepted by American society.
"The most obvious and effective lesson atheists are learning from gays [including all LGBTs] is to come out of the closet," Silverman, who is also a professor emeritus at the College of Charleston, wrote in a recent op-ed piece for The Washington Post.
"Attitudes toward gays changed rapidly when people learned that their friends, neighbors, and even family members were gay. Attitudes about atheists are slowly changing as atheists are slowly coming out."
"When the public is polled about a willingness to vote for a well-qualified person for president who happens to be gay or atheist, gays are now ranked ahead of atheists," Silverman added, referencing a June 2012 Gallup poll which found that 68 percent of Americans are willing to vote for a gay president, while only 54 percent are willing to vote for an atheist.
Silverman, who personally supports same-sex marriage, went on to assert that he believes Americans prove more hesitant of atheism compared to homosexuality because they fear how it may affect their belief system.
"An evidence-based case can be made for why many religious people are less accepting of atheists than gays. Most aren't worried about homosexuals 'converting' heterosexuals, but they worry about hearing sound arguments from atheists that might resonate with their flock," Silverman wrote.
Recently, the pro-same-sex marriage platform has gained heightened public attention due to two Supreme Court cases regarding the issue, the first challenging California's ban on same-sex marriage, and the second challenging the federal Defense of Marriage Act.
The Supreme Court Justices heard arguments for both cases earlier in March, and are expected to reach a decision come June.
Although multiple Democratic senators and two GOP senators have come out in support of same-sex marriage, most conservative leaders continue to oppose redefining marriage, whether due to religious convictions or other concerns.
Although the GOP party has vowed to continue to oppose same-sex marriage, some critics are concerned that the party may shift its stance on the issue in order to win more votes come next presidential election.
Mike Huckabee, former Arkansas governor who was a candidate in the 2008 Republican presidential primaries, said in a previous Newsmax interview that the evangelical community in America will surely walk away from the GOP platform, should the conservative party ultimately choose to support same-sex marriage.
"They might, and if they do, they're going to lose a large part of their base because evangelicals will take a walk," Huckabee told Newsmax.
"And it's not because there's an anti-homosexual mood, and nobody's homophobic that I know of," Huckabee, a former Southern Baptist pastor, continued. "But many of us, and I consider myself included, base our standards not on the latest Washington Post poll, but on an objective standard, not a subjective standard."