Friday, August 10, 2018

Happy Birthday to Conservative Political Commentator Andrew Sullivan

Andrew Sullivan was born today, August 10, in 1963. He is an English-born American author, editor, and blogger. Sullivan is a conservative political commentator, a former editor of The New Republic, and the author or editor of six books. He was a pioneer of the political blog, starting his in 2000. He eventually moved his blog to various publishing platforms, including Time, The Atlantic, The Daily Beast, and finally an independent subscription-based format. He announced his retirement from blogging in 2015. Sullivan has been a writer-at-large at New York since 2016.

Sullivan's conservatism is rooted in his Roman Catholic background and in the ideas of the British political philosopher Michael Oakeshott. In 2003, he wrote he was no longer able to support the American conservative movement, as he was disaffected with the Republican Party's continued rightward drift on social issues during the George W. Bush era.

Born and raised in England, he has lived in the United States since 1984 and currently resides in Washington, D.C., and Provincetown, Massachusetts.

In 2001, it came to light that Sullivan had posted anonymous online advertisements for unprotected anal sex, preferably with "other HIV-positive men." He was widely criticized in the media for this, with some critics noting that he had condemned President Bill Clinton's "incautious behavior," though others wrote in his defense. In 2003, Sullivan wrote a Salon article identifying himself as a member of the gay "bear community." On 27 August 2007, he married Aaron Tone in Provincetown.

Sullivan wrote the first major article in the United States advocating for gay people to be given the right to marry, published in The New Republic in 1989. Many gay rights organizations attacked him for the stance at the time. Many on "the gay left" believed that he was promoting "assimilation" into "straight culture," when the aim of most at that time was to alter codes of sexuality and society as a whole, rather than fitting gays into it. However, his arguments eventually became widely accepted and formed the basis of the modern movement to allow same-sex marriage. In the wake of the United States Supreme Court rulings on same-sex marriage in 2013 (Hollingsworth v. Perry and United States v. Windsor), New York Times op-ed columnist Ross Douthat suggested that Sullivan might be the most influential political writer of his generation, writing, "No intellectual that I can think of, writing on a fraught and controversial topic, has seen their once-crankish, outlandish-seeming idea become the conventional wisdom so quickly, and be instantantiated so rapidly in law and custom."

Sullivan opposes hate crime laws, arguing that they undermine freedom of speech and equal protection. He also opposes the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, arguing that it would "not make much of a difference" and that the "gay rights establishment" was wrong to oppose a version of the bill that did not include protections for gender identity. 

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