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Will acceptance make gay activists more conventional?

By Phil Lawler (bio - articles ) | Aug 08, 2003

In an interesting Wall Street Journal op-ed (available for now only to WSJ subscribers, unfortunately), Melik Kaylan questions the argument put forward most notably by Andrew Sullivan: that public acceptance of same-sex "marriage" will help homosexuals to curb their promiscuity and became solid citizens like everyone else. Kalyan observes: "Surprisingly, considering that it comes from the political right, the argument is a pure piece of social engineering advocacy, a species of affirmative action as applied to sexual preference."

Good point. Where is the evidence that public acceptance of a particular form of behavior will cause a decrease in the more extreme forms of the same behavior?

Sullivan-- who is a thoughtful conservative on most issues other than homosexuality-- is making the argument that a change in the laws would produce a change in human behavior. Ordinarily, such claims are rightly recognized as the products of utopian liberalism.

Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for more than 30 years. He has edited several Catholic magazines and written eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is the news director and lead analyst at See full bio.

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  • Posted by: shrink - Aug. 08, 2003 4:56 PM ET USA

    Phil, to your question. There is no evidence, and here's why: Cultural institutions (eg, marriage) do not create virtues, such as sexual temperance. Rather they are the result of habits in upbringing, which prepare the person for the demands of the institution. Without training, the institution collapses. So, marriage doesn't create temperance, it reinforces that which is already there, learned through childhood and adolescence.