Eve Tushnet Is Gay, Catholic, and Celibate. And She Wants You to Quit Whining About Marriage

Eve Tushnet, the celibate lesbian Roman Catholic, makes for an interesting person to talk about, because she is A Gay who advocates against same-sex marriage, and likes the idea of homosexuals keeping their fly zipped up for eternity. But just because she’s one of us doesn’t make her viewpoints any more valid.

Tushnet’s website receives “hundreds” of visits per day — hardly enough to call her an influential blogger. But that reach comes through her scribblings for magazines like the National Review, titles that are apt to give space to people “on the inside” of gays advocating against them. Her writings are interesting, we’ll give her that; ex-gays! sublimation vs. repression! And so is her story: A D.C. resident now, she joined the Roman Catholicism while studying at Yale, and she earns her living writing and speaking about gays and religion and heaven and sex.

But even for her own community, she recommends gays lay off the sex. And the marriage. In today’s Times profile of Tushnet:

Marriage should be reserved for heterosexuals, whose “relationships can be either uniquely dangerous or uniquely fruitful,” she explained in an e-mail message. “Thus it makes sense to have an institution dedicated to structuring and channeling them.”

But same-sex marriage, she wrote in The New York Post in 2007, “can bring one of three outcomes: A two-tiered marriage culture, where heterosexual couples are asked to do the hard things (sex only within marriage, marriage for life in most circumstances) and homosexual couples work out their own marriage norms; reshape marriage into an optional, individualized institution, ignoring the creative and destructive potentials of ‘straight’ sex; or encourage all couples to restrict sex to marriage and marry for life, and hope that gay couples accept norms designed to meet heterosexual needs.”

It’s hard to argue that someone so well learned could be, very bluntly, “confused,” but that is exactly what Tushnet is. Not because she doesn’t agree with the editorial team behind this website, or most of our readers. But because she confuses legalizing gay marriage with some affront to heterosexual marriage. Her conclusions, of course, operate within the context of her Roman Catholic teachings, and if that isn’t enough to discount them, then her conspiracy theories about the snowball effect gay marriage will have should be.

I’m sure Tushnet is a lovely person, and I would even think of inviting her to dinner sometime. But she is a person with a platform who is out harming human beings with her instruction, and that’s simply unacceptable.

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  • patrick

    She’s as fucked-up as they come……

  • Queer

    Just because she’s a Yalie doesn’t make her “well learned.”


    The poor girl. There are ways to attract visitors to your blog–this isn’t one of them Kid. Most vile.

  • Peter

    She obviously feels bad or dirty about lesbian sex, and her out was to leave Judaism and enter a religious denomination which bans sex for hundreds of millions of people on this earth.

  • Swellster

    I took classes from her father at Georgetown Law. He is a brilliant thinker, but a bit of a social misfit. I see at least the social misfit part was passed down.

  • josh

    And yet she supports the Catholic Church (aka the Pedophile Church). Good grief!

  • The Milkman

    Asperger’s syndrome. Totally.

  • James_From_The_Great_City_of_Cambridge

    This shouldn’t be a surprise. When Lincoln freed the slaves, many of them chose to stay on the plantation, afraid of what freedom might mean. Some (very few) Blacks advocated against Martin Luther King because they thought that what he stood for was dangerous to the safety and culture of Black people because it would anger Southern Whites and/or because the Civil Rights movement was causing things to change too quickly. There have alway been, and always will be, traitors to the cause in every movement, caught up in their little bubble of fear and self-loathing.

  • Mike in Asheville, nee "in Brooklyn"

    TO Ryan Tedder (author of the post):

    WTF? In your own words, Tushnet is: “a person with a platform who is out harming human beings with her instruction” and yet you suppose that she is also a “lovely” person?

    She is as obnoxious as her Church’s doctrine of dictating to others how to live their own lives, irrespective of the ignorance, contradiction, hypocrisy, of their so-called righteous morality.

    Fine, she wants to self martyr away any expression of her lesbianism and deny herself the fulfillment of an enjoyable and happy sex life because the God who created 400 billion galaxies each with 400 billion stars, created all forms of existence and life, really cares that two women (or men) love and cherish eachother.

    I’ll stick with the belief that our Creator wants me to enjoy my life, my liberty and my pursuit of happiness equally as any other man or woman wants, desires, and loves. Why would God create so much just to deny it to anyone?

    As the late Earl Butz (former Nixon/Ford cabinet member) once commented about the Pope: “He no-a play-a the game, he no-a make-a the rules!” To Tushnet, “Shut your Tush-mouth. You don’t get to write the rules of my life, bitch!”

  • Ronbo

    She will, one day, grow up, mature and regret her childish ignorance. One day. Be patient with the child. She probably thinks Barney is as cool as veggie tales.

  • alan brickman

    What a “famebore” Another woman who hates men??? big surprise

  • Distingue Traces

    She is smart and sweet but so, so sad. And the harm she is driven to do to herself unfortunately also harms others.

  • Bill

    I never thaught I could feel SO sorry for someone so smart…

  • The Milkman

    @Ronbo: Honey, she’s 32 years old. How long should one wait for some crazy person to pull it together? Should we give her a pass until menopause?

    I bet she’d feel a lot better about Gaiety if some charitable ‘mo took her shopping and got her hair cut. And for fuck’s sake get that girl a hot oil treatment, stat.

  • 7

    I’m gonna get marked down for this, but this is EXACTLY why lesbians shouldn’t talk about gays and why gays shouldn’t talk about lesbians. She has no idea what the fuck she’s talking about.

    “A two-tiered marriage culture, where heterosexual couples are asked to do the hard things (sex only within marriage, marriage for life in most circumstances) and homosexual couples work out their own marriage norms” – What the SHIT is she even saying here? Her argument is that we want to get married so we can bastardize marriage BEECUZ DE GAYZ R ALL WHORES? Okay, bitch. Get your hand out of your pants and shove it down your throat.

    “reshape marriage into an optional, individualized institution, ignoring the creative and destructive potentials of ‘straight’ sex” – Now she wants to ban gay sex. Yeah, good luck with that, cunt. It’s not like it’s been around since before your precious Christ.

    “or encourage all couples to restrict sex to marriage and marry for life, and hope that gay couples accept norms designed to meet heterosexual needs” – This is gibberish. Nonsense. No amount of quality education in the world will help this creature because it is completely divorced from any understanding of anything on this earth.

    Ugh, FUCK YOU. GAH.

    /essay, rant

  • The Milkman

    Also, from the looks of her photo here, she could use a foundation garment that’s well fitted and provides more support. An ill-fitting bra can make even the most reasonable woman go crazy for a while.

  • SugNight

    What a fuckin knucklehead.

    Just because she is totally fucked up and has more baggage than Cher heading out on yet another final world tour, don’t project your psychosis on the whole lot of us, bee-ach.

  • SugNight

    p.s……GAY, CATHOLIC and CELIBATE? Most priests only qualify for two out of three of these, and it ain’t celibacy…

  • jeffree

    Repressed people are like depressed people — lonely, sad, tired, annoying — but at least there ARE meds for depression. And depressed people don’t try to talk other people into becoming depressed.

    Spending all day thinking about why you shouldnt have an örgàsm is just sick, stoopid & unhealthy.

    Get some flippin’ help Eve!

  • Mr. Enemabag Jones

    Judging from that picture, Ms. Tuchnet didn’t choose a life of celibacy; she had celibacy thrust upon her.

  • Tessie Tura

    @Queer: i.e. George W. Bush.

  • Beldar

    People who disagree with you are “unacceptable”?

    Wow. Talk about your thinly veiled threats.

  • Gay Marriage Now

    hmmm God creates BEAUTY, and SOMETIMES things go horribly wrong! Give the poor girl a break, it’s obvious from her looks that she has no choice in being celibate. God bless that poor creature. ;)

  • Magro

    @David Ehrenstein: if you’re going to post a link then please provide a description. Otherwise it looks like spam

  • j

    She went to Yale? I would have guessed Smith, or maybe Wellesley. And in 1973……

  • Paul A'Barge

    “she is a person with a platform who is out harming human beings with her instruction”


    Ever seen the pictures on the Zombie blog of the San Francisco Gay Parade?

    Harming human beings with instructions?

    Check the mirror, pal.

  • Zach


    I doubt anyone’s going to pass a law forcing her to have sex with another woman. Her viewpoints however, require infringing on other people’s rights. They’re unacceptable. She has the right to say them, and we have the right to call them out as unacceptable and damaging.

  • Lamar

    Traitor …

  • ChrisP

    “But she is a person with a platform who is out harming human beings with her instruction, and that’s simply unacceptable.”

    Yeah – because freedom of speech is only acceptable if you don’t influence anyone!

  • Steve

    The way I see it, in a sense, good for her. She has her life figured out – that’s a lot more than most of us can say. More power to her. But I should hope she realizes that we all deserve to make these decisions for ourselves – that just as she has a right to be Catholic and lesbian and celibate if that’s what she chooses, we should equally have the right to follow our own religions, including marrying the person that we love in keeping with our faiths. Indeed, I hope she realizes that just as no one should have the right to force some other faith or some other set of values on to her, no one should have the right to do the same to us.

  • Steve

    @alan brickman: Forgive me, I had to unhide your comment just to see what it was and then… yeah, you know what, so true. What is so shocking about this exactly? A 30-year old virgin woman who hides her inadequacies about sex behind a thin veil of religion? Do me a favor, keep tabs on this woman for 8 years. Let’s see what things are like when she hits 40.

  • j

    Is it just me, or does anyone else find her last name to be a little ironic?….Other than that, she sounds like a complete mess.

  • DBB

    She could really use some psychological help.
    Her parents did a number on her.

  • jeffree

    @DBB: The Catholic church isn’t exacty a huge fan of “secular” counseling. Very few priests receive training beyond the basics of religious counseling. There are a few nuns I’ve met with MSWs (social work) but they mostly work in catholic schools or agencies.

    The church does preach celibacy for LG people, becuz’ we’re “intrisically disordered” & all that b.s., so they won ‘t probably try talking her out of her decision.

    I hope she does find someone who will help her think through her rationale. She seems self-loathing to me….

  • trickstertara

    @The Milkman: Where are you getting this spontaneous Asperger’s diagnosis from? I’m very curious. My sister has Asperger’s, is a straight ally and is currently working for Pride St. Louis. So if you’re just using “Asperger’s” as a synonym for “crazy” or “stupid”, I’d like to know.

  • Jurlesia

    I have a problem believing she’s celibate by choice. I think she’s just bitter that no lesbian would touch her with a 10ft pole.

  • Jurlesia

    Reminds me of the Jews who aligned themselves with the Nazi’s during the war and outed other Jews for the sake of personal gain. It’s sad she’s working against her own community for the sake of whatever spiritual gain she sees herself attaining after her time on Earth. This is what happens when you are brainwashed… and selfish.

  • DavidMichael

    Many of these people like this girl, have been horribly sexually abused by an adult as a child, and the only way to cope is to just hang up sex all together rather than face the horror. Sexual abuse is very deep and devastating, she hasn’t resolved it, and with the church’s abusive teachings t’boot, it’s doubly difficult.

    Celibacy which is for her compulsive, for the reasons she states is the opposite of compulsive promiscuity, both being knee-jerk reactions addictive in nature stemming from deeply buried sexual wounds endured in youth. She is considered in some psyche circles to be a practicing sex addict. I agree.

    Hopefully she gets unbiased professional help and works through her sexual fear and trauma, as she is “acting out” her sexual suffering in deeply damaging ways towards herself and others.

    At this point I feel she is a “loose cannon” to be avoided and dismissed at all costs in hopes she at some point redeems her sexual self through honest hard inner work uncloaked by
    Christian “savior” mentality which can tend to dwindle people into severe depression.

  • Blake J

    Are we sure she is a lesbian, i.e., did she past the test?

    I would not put it past the bigots to utilize the strategy of getting ignorant flock members to claim to be homosexual, but celibate.
    These assholes will do and say anything to do harm against us!

    If God wanted us to be celibate, he would have made us asexual and not homosexual.

    She is just a miserable cunt!

  • ChrisP

    @Jeffree: The church does preach celibacy for LG people, becuz’ we’re “intrisically disordered” & all that b.s., so they won ‘t probably try talking her out of her decision.

    Or maybe she read the same source material and decided not to dismiss everything that was written before 1967.

  • Swellster

    @DBB: Her parents are ultra liberal and not Catholic. She came late to her Catholic identity. Her father is a very well known liberal legal scholar and her mother was counsel for the ACLU. Her parents equipped her to find her own identity – unfortunately, this is the one she found.

  • WTF?

    @Swellster: So we think she is perhaps rebelling in some fashion? It’s possible. I think she, like so many, are misguided and wholly ignorant on marriage. Instead of picking up a book and learning about what marriage is and how it has evolved over the centuries, they’re relying on biblical paradigms. So, she should probably be all about polygamy or marriages that have nothing to do with love, but rather the attainment of more property and the subjugation of women as she is passed along from one father figure to the next. I agree that she has the right to her sad delusions, but she (and her evil cohorts) DO NOT have the right to deny others.


    Based on her beliefs she is an absolute perfect candidate to join an order of Nuns. Preferably one with a vow of silence…….

  • Darren

    She apparently doesn’t know what an appeal to consequences of belief fallacy is. Not to mention she arbitrarily limited the possibilities of gay marriage and ignored the fact that gay marriage has existed in some countries for years. The Catholic Church has taught her well how to think irrationally. Instead of citing real facts from real gay marriages, that exist right now, she went right into a fallacious argument that doesn’t rely on any evidence.

  • neighborino

    I feel uncomfortable. I read some posts on her blog, and I think she’s just trying to create a safe space within the Catholic community for those gay men and women who want to be Catholic for whatever reason. She’s certainly less terrible than the ex-gay ministers.

    I get really pissy when people attribute someone’s opinions to the sexual abuse they may or may not have suffered during childhood. It’s done to the gay community all the time, and it never makes sense when a religious whackjob does it to us, so why would it the other way around?

    Also, this armchair Catholicism so many of you have jumped upon…I was raised Catholic, and there is a level of beauty and nuance to the faith that isn’t coming through here. I’m certainly not Catholic now and don’t ever want to return, but I understand what my mother and father get from it, what my brother and his wife get from it…all people who support me and advocate for same-sex marriage.

    I don’t think Eve Tushnet is a cunt or a whore or a hypocrite, any more than anyone here. I think statements like that are horribly damaging. You don’t know what brought her to this opinion, and questioning her sexuality, no matter how she expresses it, is out of the realm of a debate we can have. If she’s looking to create a safe space in the church she has CHOSEN to be part of, we have no right to question that decision. In the end, it may be positive for many people. It may be harmful for many as well, but can’t we say the same thing about being gay?

    I’m just saying, I’ve taken cocaine three times in my life. It was fun, but I didn’t really get what all the fuss was about, and I certainly didn’t sell all my shit to buy more. It didn’t ruin my life. Not everyone experiences the drug that way. So, I don’t advocate for everyone taking cocaine because I had a good, non-addictive experience with it. But most people who have used cocaine find the same thing out I did. 80 percent, probably. It’s the other twenty percent we have to worry about. I’m certainly not comparing homosexuality to addiction or drug use. It’s different. But different experiences cause people to act differently, and it can only be damaging to deny that fact. If we deny Eve’s experiences with lesbianism and how they shaped the person she has become, we become terrible, in the classic sense of the word. Say she’s wrong, absolutely. The way she defines gay marriage is different than the way I do, and the things I want from it are different than the things she (thinks) I do.

    But that doesn’t mean she’s the enemy. She’s just making the debate stronger, and I didn’t ever get that she hadn’t thought about the opinion she blogged about. We’re all adults, and we all have the ability to shape and form opinions ourselves. Let’s write beautiful rebuttals. And then suck a cock or eat a pussy. It’ll be A O K, promises.

  • Zach


    Jesus Christ.

    Freedom of speech doesn’t mean you get to say whatever you want and no one is allowed to criticize it. People are relatively free to say whatever they want. And other people are relatively free to criticize them. Calling out bullshit isn’t censorship.

    I’m tired of this modern era, where everyone wants to put out an opinion without ever hearing criticism about.

  • DillonS

    A university education, in and of itself, is meaningless. Anyone who has been through university or college has shared the class with obvious morons, posers who convinced themselves they knew everything, and intelligent people. Even attendance to a prestigious school like Yale does not make someone intelligent. Case in point: Eve Tushnet.

    Also, just wondering if it possible that she is really asexual.

  • Tommy

    I read this in the Times on Saturday. I wonder if she actually believes what she is saying. I have a feeling she came up with something super bizarre to get attention and shock people. It seems to be working since she got an article in the Times and talked about on here. She makes her living from writing so she has to come up with something weird or no one will notice. If she just said she is all for equal rights and same sex marriage, everyone would be like ho hum and the Times wouldn’t write about her.
    She has the total right to be asexual and there are people who are happy being that way. What she doesn’t have the right to do though is to tell every other gay person they have to be just like her. But I can’t see manly people being influenced by her writings since she sound so crazy and illogical. So I don’t think she is that dangerous, more like a novelty freakish thing that the media will lose interest in quickly.

  • James_From_The_Great_City_of_Cambridge

    @Tommy: You actually made a really excellent point that no one else has. She probably is asexual, along with 1% of the general population.
    Which makes this whole bizarre belief of hers very easy to explain; she wants nothing to do with sex, which she finds icky, so why not use this bullshit religion as a cover to answer people’s questions about why she has no relationships of any kind? It’s brilliant but dangerous to us because she is yet another gay or ex-gay religious wack jobs can use against us. Shame on her. As far as I’m concerned, she along with the Larry Craigs and the George Rekers, is a dangerous and traitorous cunt.

  • James_From_The_Great_City_of_Cambridge

    @DillonS: also made the same point!

  • Desdemona

    ew…just because she can’t get laid doesn’t mean she has to tell everyone else they can’t.

  • Weary G

    “But she is a person with a platform who is out harming human beings with her instruction, and that’s simply unacceptable.”

    Unacceptable? You ARE going to have accept it, whether you like it or not, no? That’s what we call tolerance.

    “dangerous and traitorous cunt.”

    Ahhh, I forget, tolerance on the left means only tolerating what they feel like tolerating. Convenient that.

    You may not agree with her, or her stances, but being an individual in a free society (however long that lasts), she can voice her opinion can she not? Or should she be denied that?

    I myself don’t think I can completely understand the concept of accepting being gay, but then denying yourself the ability to express that sexuality, but I’m not her. This woman has navigated her journey through life and come to this conclusion that THIS is the lifestyle she thinks is proper for her.

    “But, she’s telling everyone else what to do! That’s the problem!”

    And who does not?

    We have greens demanding we shrink our carbon footprints by driving certain cars, flying less, cooling/heating less.

    We have health nuts telling us that they we eat too much salt drink too much soda and alcohol.

    We have PETA telling everyone that no one should ever eat anything that had a heartbeat at any point in its life, or they are a evil scumbag.

    We have Feminists telling heterosexual males that their sexuality needs to be corrected, and telling many woman they make the wrong life choices.

    We have Homosexuals telling people of all sorts of religions that they can’t hold certain beliefs about homosexuality, even when they are tolerant of it.

    The list goes on, on the left, and on the right, with family values Pols screwing around on their wives.

    Eve has chosen to live her life, to advocate a life-style, different from the one others have chosen. She is not harming ANYONE by simply expressing her beliefs. She does not believe in gay marriage, many people do. That’s called a DISAGREEMENT. It would be nice to be able to have disagreements without immediately going to the freakin’ barricades in this country.

    So, how about a “Well, I don’t think that’s for me, and I don’t get it, but I respect your life choices” instead of being called vile names and told to shut up.

    Seems to me that’s what homosexuals were rightfully demanding from society not to long ago. How about giving Eve the same consideration.

  • Cam

    Look, there were always people that advocated for their own oppression. She is nothing new.

  • Cam

    @Weary G:

    Sorry sweetie, it is not tolerance, to tolerate, intolerance. That is called supporting bigotry, it really makes no difference that her bigotry is directed at her own kind. Plenty of women opposed the ERA.

  • The Milkman

    @trickstertara: Relax, honey. I know Asperger’s doesn’t mean crazy or stupid. I’m sure your sister’s an awesome person. Have a nice day.

  • Mark

    She got that Republican worm in her brain.

  • Boston Lesbian

    As an ex-nun in a very conservative religious Roman catholic order and now a married lesbian in Massachusetts (and an Episcopalian) I would like to ask why Ms Tushnet believes the teachings of the Roman Catholic church should be law for all citizens of this country?

    Ms Tushnet has every right to her beliefs. She does not have the right to force everyone to follow those beliefs.

    I spent many years trying to deny my sexuality and follow the teachings of that church. Don’t do it! I am much happier now I am out of that oppressive environment.

  • gilber

    the evil of Christianity are many, if only they knew the true ethereal identity of “Paul” and his mission on earth, you would be frightened.

  • USMaleSF

    I suppose it’s too much to ask for in a comments section, but very very few people have addressed her argument or opinion with contrary argument. Mostly just name calling.

  • mobius

    I don’t agree with Eve on everything. In fact, I’d say I disagree with her more often than not. But Eve is probably one of the most intelligent, thoughtful people I have ever met. It is to one’s peril not to seriously grapple with her arguments. It’s one thing to disagree with her. And it’s one thing to be angry at her arguments. But it’s another to write some of the things you people have written in these comments. Do you not care that she is someone’s friend, daughter, sister, aunt? Do you think she doesn’t have people who care about her? Why do you think it is acceptable to dehumanize her in the way you guys have? Shame on all of you. I guess so much for your vaunted tolerance.

  • Lukas

    “But because she confuses legalizing gay marriage with some affront to heterosexual marriage. Her conclusions, of course, operate within the context of her Roman Catholic teachings, and if that isn’t enough to discount them, then her conspiracy theories about the snowball effect gay marriage will have should be.”

    Ms. Tushnet’s views on homosexuality are certainly influenced by Catholic teaching. But why does this mean you can “discount them”? Catholics might similarly claim that your gay agenda is enough to discount whatever you say. But it would be better, I think, to actually listen to each other.

    Also, calling something a “conspiracy theory” is not an argument.

  • Julie

    Eve, thank you so much for your celibacy. As a lesbian, I can tell you that we don’t need or want you in the “available” pool.
    Often, intelligence is the twin of madness, and both exist in the same head. No doubt that you, Eve, are the host of said twins…
    A closed mind should come with a closed mouth. I think duct tape would complete the look nicely. Eve, would you be kind enough to apply it yourself? We don’t want to touch you.

  • Al

    The accusatory comments on this page disgust me. Not only do they represent close-mindedness towards the cultures and religions of others, but they represent a violent hatred towards Catholic people, who as much as Muslims, Hindus, and Protestants, deserve to be treated with dignity regardless of their beliefs. This woman is not blindly following her faith. She has a reasoning behind the beliefs she holds and has thoroughly read on the subject of Catholic sexual morality. Unless you’ve done the same, you have no right to treat her so harshly. The comments directed towards her are just another show of the hatred, disapproval, and the fear inflicted upon the gay community.

  • Jonathan

    I wonder how she reconciles her burden compared with her heterosexual counterparts? What I mean by this is the how many Catholic couples engage in premarital sex, living together before marriage, birth control and eventual divorce. How many Catholics get away with ignoring Church doctrine without any rebuke from the church in any realistic fashion?

  • Captain_Dg

    It is not so much the vitriol, which is fair enough. It is website. But if you engage her arguments after you have disparaged her you would at least sharpen your own reasoning. Ya, ya, I know. Old post. Troll. But think…

Comments are closed.