Reviewed by: Book Review Patrick D. Hopkins The Long Arc of Justice: Lesbian and Gay Marriage, Equality, and Rights. By Richard D. Mohr. Until 1987, the New York Times wouldn't even print the word gay. By 2003, the Times was running gay wedding announcements, complete with photographs, including the announcement of the Canadian-licensed marriage of the author of The Long Arc of Justice. Richard Mohr's newest book is a revised and updated version of his 1994 A More Perfect Union and, in the decade that has passed since that work, he has seen such enormous progress for the cause of lesbian and gay rights that his book practically shines with optimism. The backdrop idea of Long Arc is essentially that American culture has passed a turning point in the gay rights debate. While there is much yet to be accomplished and there is still a culture war going on, the taboo about discussing gay issues has all but collapsed, the cultural presence of gays and lesbians is so strong that gay kids will never again have to wonder if they are the only one, homophobic attitudes are no longer de rigueur, and phrases like "gay marriage" are no longer oxymorons but instead obviously meaningful, even if contested. With all these changes, gays have become less monstrous to the cultural mainstream and instead have become cultural curiosities, like "hippies and Mormons." Mohr's explanation for how this progress was made essentially points to culture. While acknowledging and analyzing important legal victories, such as the U.S. Supreme Court's 2003 Lawrence v. Texas ruling eliminating sodomy laws, Mohr argues that even these successes are the result of cultural changes and not the producers of them. What has been most important for gay rights issues, it seems, is the presence of lesbian and gay television characters, increased personal openness of gay and lesbian people (which has bumped the percentage of those who say they know a gay person from one-fifth in the 1980s to one-half in the 2000s), sympathetic media portrayal of victims of antigay violence, and unsympathetic media portrayal of antigay rhetoric. This doesn't mean that harmful gay stereotypes and antigay discrimination are gone, but it does mean that the fundamental force in gay rights, both positive and negative, has been cultural visibility and this has radically changed for the better. As Mohr sees it, then, antigay forces can no longer rely on silence or the reaction of disgust in pursuing antigay aims. Instead, they must rely on argumentation and cultural moves of their own. In a bit of tension with his own position on the importance of culture, Mohr argues that the job for gay rights activists now is to make good arguments and he does this through analyzing the most important issues for [End Page 243] gay rights. He asks, Now that the taboo about discussing lesbians and gays has fallen, what should we be saying? It is these arguments that form the center of the book and it is these arguments that are important and useful for both classroom and public political airing. In the opening chapter, "Lesbian and Gay Basics," Mohr summarizes and criticizes the basic arguments against gay rights, including Biblical authority, natural law, psychopathology, and social harm arguments. Perhaps a measure of the progress that has been made on gay issues is that much of the rhetoric about gays as child molesters and how homosexuality will destroy civilization now seem so ridiculous that we can easily imagine the 2015 update of this book relegating such "arguments" to curious historical footnotes. In the chapter on sexual privacy, Mohr lays out his argument for why sexual privacy is so important and merits the status of a protected right. He invokes the Body Argument (the body is that through which we act, so if we are to be free in anything, we must have control of our bodies), the Sex is Special Argument (during sex, perception is inherently private and the world recedes), and the Sex is Personal Argument (sex is a unique experience that provides the only access to ecstasy for most people and so is crucial for our pursuit of...

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