More Perfect Union

The five-page section with which Mohr, a professor of philosophy at the University of Illinois, concludes his book, “Envoi: America’s Promise,” offers ten specific suggestions to people who support gay rights. He urges that they employ these suggestions to help others place homosexuality in a moral perspective consistent with the ideal of equal rights, historically a basic underpinning of American society.

Mohr, whose earlier book, GAY IDEAS: OUTING AND OTHER CONTROVERSIES (1992), evoked considerable controversy when academic presses refused to publish it as Mohr presented it to them, in this book examines and illustrates with well-chosen case studies the relationship of the gay community and its civil rights to the straight community and its liberties. He examines from a moral and constitutional base such matters as sexual privacy, gay marriage, equality of opportunity as assured by the U.S. Constitution, gays in the military, and AIDS.

A MORE PERFECT UNION is not an angry book; rather, it is a carefully reasoned response to a growing need for people to question what happens to a society that permits, indeed often encourages, discrimination against some of its elements. Hitler’s Germany looms before all future generations as a striking example of what happens when good, moral, mainstream citizens close their eyes to atrocities they mistakenly presume are not their concern.

The repressive laws and provincial attitudes directed against gays, often sanctioned in American society by elements of the religious right and neo-Nazi groups, can eventually be expanded to rob of their rights the very people who support them. This is Mohr’s cautionary note to those who discriminate against gays.