Publication Date



Today, many devout Christian fundamentalists support
some state discrimination against gay people, on the
ground that full equality for gays would mean fewer
liberties for themselves. In its recent controversy with a
public law school, the Christian Legal Society argued that
it was entitled to state subsidies even though it violated
the school's antidiscrimination policy. The Society said it
excluded only "unrepentant homosexuals"-those gay
persons whose "immoral" conduct and degraded status
were directly linked to what the Society considered an
anti-Christian message.
Professor Eskridge demonstrates that the same clash
between equality for minorities and liberty for Christian
fundamentalists played out in the context of race. Most of
today's antigay denominations were generations earlier
antiblack as a matter of faith. When people of color sought
the end of slavery and, later, apartheid, they were met by
arguments that more equal treatment for people of African
descent would violate the liberties enjoyed by Christians of
European descent.
Moreover, religion, society, and the state are mutually
constitutive-each influences the others. Thus, advances
in racial equality were accompanied and at the same time
abetted by the abandonment of racist religious doctrines.
Professor Eskridge argues that pro-tolerance religious
persons and groups are critical players in the progress of
society toward more equal treatment of sexual minorities
in the future as well as racial minorities in the past.