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Same-Sex Marriage, Pro and Con.

Edited by Andrew Sullivan (Vintage, $14)

Reviewed by R.L. Pela

Andrew Sullivan's Same-Sex Marriage, Pro and Con is nothing if not exhaustive, crowding a couple of thousand years' worth of commentary into some 400 encyclopedic pages. With last December's Hawaii court decision and the passage of the Defense of Marriage Act in Congress, the timing of this tome--although not the book itself--couldn't be better.

A senior editor at The New Republic and author of 1995's Virtually Normal: An Argument About Homosexuality, Sullivan has culled opinions from sources as diverse as Plato and Ann Landers, from material as old as the Book of Genesis and as new as an article on gay families by Melissa Etheridge and Julie Cypher.

The book's whopping 83 essays remind us that the idea of same-sex marriage is anything but new. The most thought-provoking section, "my Marry? The Debate on the Left," includes Frank Browning's insightful essay on the benefits of the extended family versus the isolation of modem marriage. And a transcript of a debate in Congress pits a bumbling Sonny Bono against an eloquent Barney Frank.

Thanks to this sort of material, those who favor same-sex marriage tend to come out on top; and Sullivan's collection makes its points without being highbrow or scholarly. But no one benefits from the encyclopedic nature of this book. Ultimately it works better as a reference material than as a stimulating read.
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Article Details
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Author:Pela, Robrt L.
Publication:The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Apr 15, 1997
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