The Public Interest

The liberal case against gay marriage

Susan M. Shell

Summer 2004

THE issue of gay marriage brings to a head, like few other issues of our time, a central conflict between two moral positions that interact like seismic plates beneath the surface of contemporary American political life. It is commonly thought that the issue of gay marriage pits secular liberals against religious conservatives. While this understanding is accurate up to a point, it is also seriously misleading. The most stubborn and intransigent opponents in the conflict are both in their way sectarian.

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