Conservative Argues for Gay Marriage


By Abigail Wheeler '04

When Colby Republicans co-president Steve Bogden '05 began working last semester to bring gay conservative Andrew Sullivan to Colby, Bogden had no way of knowing that the speaking engagement would be so timely. The topic: same-sex marriage.

Sullivan, former editor of The New Republic, spoke in March, a week after San Francisco started granting marriage licenses to same-sex couples and President George W. Bush called for a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. Sullivan is openly gay and has advocated for gays in the military and same-sex marriage since the early 1990s.

Speaking to a crowd of more than 400 in Page Commons, Sullivan said, "From Massachusetts to San Francisco to small towns like New Paltz, New York, and now Nyack, New York, people are deciding that they're not going to tolerate discrimination anymore and are marrying couples of the same gender-gay people who want to commit to one another in the simplest and oldest gesture of love and commitment and fidelity."

Sullivan, who writes for The New York Times Magazine and The Sunday Times of London, has written books, including Virtually Normal: An Argument About Homosexuality, Same-Sex Marriage: Pro and Con and Love Undetectable: Notes on Friendship, Sex, and Survival. He also maintains a popular socio-political Web site,

Barely glancing at his notes, Sullivan countered many arguments against same-sex marriage with logic and passion. "It's such a simple moment, and yet it's taken so long to arrive," he said.

After the talk, Sullivan joined student organizers in the Bluelight Pub for more discussion. In a message posted on his weblog the next day, Sullivan wrote: "At a small college last night, over 400 showed up, cramming the biggest auditorium available, to listen to the speech and ask questions. . . . It's thrilling to see the interest and overwhelming support."