A major platform of gays' rights seems to be that gays are entitled to social and political rights because, in fact, they are not different from the heterosexual majority when one looks past the definitional criterion of sleeping with the same sex. Any other differences, they claim, are "myths" and do not exist. From this perspective, without investigating bedroom behavior, one could never tell who is gay and who is not: Gays are just like "regular" people, the line goes, so they should be treated like them. "The best hope for acceptance," writes one Ann Landers reader, "is to show the straights that we are not very different from them."

The mission to portray gays as indistinguishable from heterosexuals has attracted some social scientists who try to legitimize this political strategy by arguing that it accurately reflects our empirical knowledge. The present Article seeks to remove this legitimization by demonstrating that such attempts are not, in actuality, accurate depictions of the present state of knowledge. It will do this through a systematic dissection of an examplar of this type of argument. If the "no difference" stance is at variance with the known facts, then any political strategy that adopts it as a justification for legislative or judicial action is perpetrating a philosophical fraud.

Document Type


Publication Date

August 1993

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Law Commons


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