This week we sat down with Andrew Sullivan, blogger extraordinaire and former editor of The New Republic. A gay conservative who helped pioneer the marriage equality movement, he was pals with Boris Johnson at Oxford, did his PhD at Harvard, and writes one of the best columns we read each week — a Friday essay on politics and society for New York magazine.

He joined us this week for a long interview in which we discuss everything from his upbringing in Britain, his college days with Boris Johnson, his experience in the gay rights movement, his views on religious liberty laws, President Trump’s impeachment, and much more.

You can subscribe to Banter on iTunesStitcher, or Spotify, and archived episodes can be found at This is Banter episode #394.

Related reading:

The Blundering Brilliance of Boris Johnson

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  1. Henry Racette Member
    Henry Racette

    Good interview with Andrew Sullivan. I disagree more than I agree with the man, but he nonetheless says a lot of things that are refreshing to hear, particularly coming from the left.

    Among the things he said in the interview that I flat-out reject, one of the biggest has to be his oft-repeated claim that same-sex marriage became acceptable because “debate” and “logic” were brought to bear to finally convince the American people that allowing it was the right thing to do.

    As I remember it, there was precious little actual debate in the public sphere. I don’t doubt that in the relatively rarefied intellectual environs through which Mr. Sullivan travels there was actual debate. But the battle for same-sex marriage was characterized, again as I remember it, by a pretty consistently successful popular effort to prohibit it at the state level, by court action to overturn such state-level prohibitions when they were enacted, and by a concerted effort by the opinion-shaping elite of news and entertainment and the academies to reshape public acceptance and cast opposition to same-sex marriage as backward and unacceptable.

    It wasn’t “debate” and “logic” that made same-sex marriage the law of the land. It was the Supreme Court, which ended whatever “debate” might have been going on, and which effectively made anyone who persisted in doubting the wisdom of this radical expansion of the definition of “marriage” appear to be a social Neanderthal.

    I also find Mr. Sullivan’s repetition of the common anti-Trump mantra, that President Trump acts in a profoundly anti-Constitutional way, to be hollow. Like the claim that we had a national debate on same-sex marriage, this seems to be one of these narratives of the left that seem self-evidently true to those who accept them, and so need not be substantiated with evidence or examples.

    Finally, claiming that President Obama was a moderate, as Mr. Sullivan does, suggests that Mr. Sullivan and I are looking at very different bell curves. From his promise to “fundamentally transform” America to his robust endorsement of radical environmentalism, his tiresome anti-business, anti-market talk, his attempt to re-align U.S. foreign policy toward our adversaries and away from our allies, and his signature legislative accomplishment in health care, he was far from a moderate. He was a staunch progressive who was stymied by an opposition party that was able to oppose him successfully because he had overreached and lost the support of a nation that ultimately rejected his vision.

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