April 2011 Vol. 109 No. 6 THE REVIEW

Disgust and the Problematic Politics of Similarity

Courtney Megan Cahill

Martha Nussbaum's latest book, From Disgust to Humanity: Sexual Orientation & Constitutional Law, could not have come at a more opportune time in the history of gay rights in the United States. All signs point to progress toward "humanity," from same-sex couples' successful bids for marriage equality in a handful of states to the public's increasing acceptance of the prospect of gays and lesbians serving openly in the military. Even if recent cognitive science research indicates that same-sex relationships provoke more than a little disgust in some people, landmark marriage equality victories in a few states suggest that the law is far less willing to tolerate that disgust as a valid basis for discriminatory and exclusionary legislation. And unlike its culture-war comrade, abortion, homosexuality has become less, not more, taboo over time. Whereas abortion is rarely, if at all, mentioned on television, homosexuality, as Nussbaum points out, is becoming a virtual regular on primetime (p. xviii). Indeed, if the (somewhat boringly) vanilla gay couple on ABC's Modern Family is any indication, homosexuality-or at least a very domesticated version of it-has begun to lose its taint.


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