Beyond these changes, Sullivan writes, American society would need no “cures [of homophobia] or reeducations, no wrenching private litigation, no political imposition of tolerance.” It is hard to imagine how Sullivan’s proposals would, in fact, end efforts to change private behavior toward homosexuals, or why the next, inevitable, step would not involve attempts to accomplish just that purpose by using cures and reeducations, private litigation, and the political imposition of tolerance.
But apart from this, Sullivan—an English Catholic, a homosexual, and someone who has on occasion referred to himself as a conservative—has given us the most sensible and coherent view of a program to put homosexuals and heterosexuals on the same public footing.
To most of us, the thought is unimaginable; to Sullivan, it is the daily existence of declared homosexuals. _____________ Sullivan recounts three main arguments concerning homosexual marriage, two against and one for.
He labels them prohibitionist, conservative, and liberal.
As a consequence of two pending decisions, we may be about to accept homosexual marriage.
In 1993 the supreme court of Hawaii ruled that, under the equal-protection clause of that state’s constitution, any law based on distinctions of sex was suspect, and thus subject to strict judicial scrutiny.
Accordingly, it reversed the denial of a marriage permit to a same-sex couple, unless the state could first demonstrate a “compelling state interest” that would justify limiting marriages to men and women. But in the meantime, the executive branch of Hawaii appointed a commission to examine the question of same-sex marriages; its report, by a vote of five to two, supports them.
The legislature, for its part, holds a different view of the matter, having responded to the court’s decision by passing a law unambiguously reaffirming the limitation of marriage to male-female couples.
He seems to pass over this obstacle without effective retort.
Instead, he takes up a different theme, namely, that on grounds of consistency many heterosexual practices—adultery, sodomy, premarital sex, and divorce, among others—should be outlawed equally with homosexual acts of the same character.