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From Tolerance to Equality
How Elites Brought America to Same-Sex Marriage

By Darel E. Paul

From Tolerance to Equality
Hardback, 230 pages $39.95
Published: 1st March 2018
ISBN: 9781481306942
Format: 9in x 6in

Subjects: All Sociology, Political Philosophy

Over the last twenty-five years, a dramatic transformation in the American public’s view of homosexuality has occurred, symbolized best by the movement of same-sex marriage from the position of a fringe few to the pinnacle of morality and a cornerstone of establishment thought. From Tolerance to Equality explores how this seismic shift of social perspective occurred and why it was led by the country’s educational and business elite. Rejecting claims of a commitment to toleration or a heightened capacity for moral sympathy, author Darel E. Paul argues that American elites use opinion on homosexuality as a mark of social distinction and thus as a tool for accumulating cultural authority and political power.  

Paul traces this process through its cultural pathways as first professionals and, later, corporate managers took up the cause. He marshals original data analysis and chapters on social class and the family, the ideology of diversity, and the waning status of religious belief and authority to explore the factors behind the cultural changes he charts. Paul demonstrates the high stakes for same-sex marriage’s mostly secular proponents and mostly religious opponents—and explains how so many came to fight so vigorously on an issue that directly affects so few. In the end, From Tolerance to Equality is far more than an explanation of gay equality and same-sex marriage. It is a road map to the emerging American political and cultural landscape.


DATA FILES: Data files for this volume may be downloaded here.

"A welcome and perceptive challenge to prevailing narratives of same-sex marriage."

—Alastair Roberts, The Gospel Coalition

"A new managerial elite has ascended to power in the American academy, learned professions, corporations, religious bodies, and government. Darel Paul not only charts how this elite has led the country to normalize homosexuality but also shows how the campaign for same-sex marriage constitutes this elite’s identity in our time. Paul tells no simple morality tale of ‘enlightenment’ overcoming benighted ‘intolerance.’ He demonstrates how this elite’s aspiration to win each battle of the Culture War compromises their capacity to rule and be ruled and their capacity to defend crucial individual liberties. From Tolerance to Equality is a must-read showing how our Culture Wars are the leading edge of factional conflict in America."

—Scott Yenor, Professor of Political Science, Boise State University

“This book will be of significant importance to anyone interested in sexuality, social class, and cultural change.”


"The apparent paradox of our nation’s wealthy and powerful elite leading the charge for marriage equality can no longer go unexamined with the publication of Darel Paul’s important and consequential book. His study raises unavoidable and even uncomfortable questions about possible connections between the entrenchment of class inequality and elite-driven advances of sexual equality in today’s America. This book deserves to be widely-read, candidly discussed, and strenuously debated."

—Patrick J. Deneen, David A. Potenziani Memorial Associate Professor of Constitutional Studies, University of Notre Dame

Darel E. Paul is Professor of Political Science at Williams College.

Publication Details:

 Hardback , 230 pages
 9in x 6in

  POL000000, POL042000, SOC012000
 Baylor University Press

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