Harvard historian Niall Ferguson apologized this weekend for suggesting that John Keynes held hedonistic economic beliefs because he was a childless gay with no investment in the future -- becoming the latest in a long list of public figures forced to make a dramatic mea culpa for anti-gay remarks. That list speaks volumes about the continued homophobia that mars American culture even as legal progress marches impressively forward. And it raises the important question of whether, despite that progress, American hearts and minds have really changed as much as many assume. Is homophobia really dying, or is outrage simply driving it underground? The apologies have taken a predictable form. The week before the Super Bowl, San Francisco 49ers cornerback Chris Culliver said that if he had gay teammates, "they gotta get up outta here." He released a statement the next day saying "the derogatory comments I made yesterday were a reflection of thoughts in my head, but they are not how I feel." Last month, a Louisiana State University running back apologized for comments that "may have sounded insensitive" after saying that football is for "grown men" and a gay player would be regarded "as a sissy."
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