Andrew Sullivan is, if nothing else, single-minded:

[T]he liberal base seems more fired up than the conservative base – 47 percent strongly want Bush defeated, versus 37 percent who strongly want to see him re-elected. I guess a major anti-gay push is now in the works at the White House.


The entirety of Bush’s comments on homosexuality from Tuesday’s SOTU:

A strong America must also value the institution of marriage. I believe we should respect individuals as we take a principled stand for one of the most fundamental, enduring institutions of our civilization. Congress has already taken a stand on this issue by passing the Defense of Marriage Act, signed in 1996 by President Clinton. That statute protects marriage under federal law as a union of a man and a woman, and declares that one state may not redefine marriage for other states.

Activist judges, however, have begun redefining marriage by court order, without regard for the will of the people and their elected representatives. On an issue of such great consequence, the people’s voice must be heard. If judges insist on forcing their arbitrary will upon the people, the only alternative left to the people would be the constitutional process. Our nation must defend the sanctity of marriage. (Applause.)

The outcome of this debate is important — and so is the way we conduct it. The same moral tradition that defines marriage also teaches that each individual has dignity and value in God’s sight. (Applause.)

So, the extent of the “major anti-gay push” would appear to be maintaining the status quo but with a nod to individual dignity and value. Indeed, most of his remarks are the standard line against an activist judiciary rather than about homosexuality per se.

One could certainly wish for a more proactive change agenda. But being wishy-washy and essentially side-stepping this issue is hardly turning up the anti-gay rhetoric. Indeed, John Kerry repeatedly emphasized his opposition to “marriage”–presumably meaning “gay marriage”–on Fox News Sunday earlier today.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2004, , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Professor Kaos says:

    Sullivan says many things I agree with, but I wonder if he realizes how self-absorbed he sounds when he portrays himself as a victim because the government doesnt endorse his relationship.

  2. Professor,

    I wonder how different your own behaviour would be if the government refused to recognize your heterosexual relationship.

    Like James, when he describes Sullivan as “single minded” you should think before you speak.

  3. James Joyner says:


    Not being married, I’ve never had the government recognize any relationship I’ve been in. I’ve never cared. Indeed, it wouldn’t hurt my feelings if marriage as a secular institution accorded special privileges by the state went away entirely.

  4. James,

    That’s fine. I wouldn’t mind that either. At least then we’d be being treated the same. But for now, gays are not treated equally, and to dismiss Sullivan talking about that as single-mindedness is, in my opinion, very unfair.

    If unmarried folks in this country were unable to vote, I suspect single people would find that atrocious. Could I dismiss their concerns as single-mindedness?

  5. James Joyner says:


    If they blog about it incessantly, to the virtual exclusion of other topics, yes. 🙂

  6. Paul says:

    Demmons you miss that people like me no longer read Sully because we simply tire of the single drum. (well, he has 2 drums if you count the NYT bashing)

    The day he posted 9 items and 8 of them were gay marriage I gave up. He is a smart and clever guy certainly he has more on his mind.

    Besides, let’s face reality for a change on this issue. It is not about “marriage” it is about money. Any 2 gay people can declare themselves married. The thing Sully and others want is money. (ie benefits.)

    When the federal government has in place a tax penalty for heterosexual married couples, what on earth makes the Gay’s feel so damned persecuted?

    Politically incorrect I know. But accurate as hell.

  7. Paul,

    That shows your ignorance of many issues related to marriage. One of them – immigration – is one that affects thousands of people in this country. I don’t care about money, because I doubt marriage will do much to benefit me in that way anyway (except for the fees that I have to dish out to constantly renew my visa) But immigration policy does.

    You say that for Sullivan it’s all about money. Anyone who gets married for money (which you obviously believe is the point of marriage) demeans the institution.

    And James: Like you, I imaging Sullivan blogs about issues that are important to him. I read him daily. Most of his posts are not about homosexuality at all – unless that’s what you’re focusing on. Sullivan once wrote that everytime he mentions his boyfriend, he gets an influx of email accusing him of throwing his homosexuality in the faces of his readers.

    I suspect strongly that Sullivan could mention gay issues once or twice a week and get the same charges levied at him.

    He’s posted 10 times today. One of them is about gay issues.

    Saturday. 4 posts. One may be construed to be marginally about gays.

    Friday, 10 posts. Zero gay.

    Thursday: 12 posts. 1 mentios his boyfriend. Uh-oh! 1 is about an ABC marriage poll.

    Hardly single-mindedness.

    In any case, I’ll put this topic to bed! 🙂

  8. James says:

    Kudos to you, Michael, for trying to explain this. I notice that no one bothered to reply to your comments. I guess people who think that someone who wants to be able to visit their partner in the hospital or to introduce them proudly, in the eyes of the law, as his or her spouse, is just whining and playing that gay card when he kicks up a fuss about an amendment which would ban any legal recognition or benefits for gay couples for countless future generations.

    And people wonder why so many gay men vote Democrat no matter what the alternative is. I used to wonder about that as well. After Bush’s SOTU and the snide blogosphere reaction to anyone who said one word against his “judicial activism” pandering (was he upset about judicial activism when it got him in the White House?), I don’t anymore. The only place for gays in the Republican party these days is if you keep your mouth shut and desperately try to blend into the wallpaper. To do anything else is to somehow offend that great conservative mentality. You can cheat on your wife, get divorced and married 2, 3, 4 times…but don’t mention that homo stuff. Don’t play the gay card. Remember your place.

  9. James says:

    By the way…aside from single-mindendness, one of the major reasons which Andrew Sullivan thinks there will be a major anti-gay push is because:

    – the Southern Baptist Convention and other fundamentalist groups have said on the record: “if this doesn’t become the #1 election issue, we will MAKE it the #1 election issue”

    – Ron Gillespie has said on two to three different occasions that gay issues will be a major part of the Republican platform, and that gays have only themselves to blame (continuing a theme seen in this thread).

    If Sully seems single-minded, maybe it’s because the GOP is of one single, polluted mind on this issue. To warn that the GOP is waging a big anti-gay war in the next election is not egomania. Gay-bashing is a tried-and-true campaign tactic and will be more in evidence than ever this year.

  10. James Joyner says:


    Several people replied to Michael’s posts.

    And didn’t Bill Clinton sign the present DOMA?