The culture war rages on at Barnard College, where two sharp-eyed harpies, Sandra Chefitz and Shannon T. Herbert, have humbled the last vestiges of traditionalism within its ivy-covered halls. Upon discovering that a Barnard brochure boasted that graduates of women’s colleges were more likely to marry and bear children than were alumni of coed institutions, Chefitz and Herbert emitted outraged shrieks that could be heard well beyond the confines of that countercultural coven.

Ten or even five years ago, their brief would have been taken up by feminists eager to discourage and discredit the institution of marriage. Today, as the New York Times breezily informs us, “in addition to those who saw the brochure as stereotypical, some students saw the statement as a sign that the college did not value lesbians as much as other students.” “It was,” whined Chefitz, “a slap in the face.” These two daughters of Sappho went into action, demanding and getting a meeting with the dean of admissions, and circulating a petition protesting Barnard’s blatant “homophobia.” The administration reacted predictably: The pamphlet, sent to parents of prospective students, was hastily withdrawn.

“Marriage in our culture is seen as the pinnacle,” complained Miss Herbert, president of Lesbians and Bisexuals in Action at Barnard. As if to underscore not only the perversity but the humorlessness of her stance, this militant Sapphist went on to lament the fact that “there is a stigma attached to women’s colleges, a stereotype that they produce unshaven, unmanageable, unruly women, or women who become lesbians.”

The photo accompanying the story reveals that the first adjective surely does not describe Miss Herbert, whose carefully plucked eyebrows and elaborate makeup imply expertise in the art of depilation. However, her swarthy fellow amazon. Miss Chefitz, with her “butch” Bobby Darin haircut and dark androgyny, has the hint of a mustache shading her upper lip. Both smile disdainfully at the camera, lips frozen in the shape of a victorious smirk.

What lies behind that smirk ought to disabuse conservatives of the notion that there can be anything like peaceful coexistence in the culture wars. Gay activists continually deride the concept of a “gay agenda,” insisting that they merely want equality before the law and protection from marauding thugs. But there is indeed a gay agenda, and it has nothing to do with “tolerance” or a more libertarian “live and let live” approach to public policy. Quite the contrary. By calling for “hate crimes” legislation that would prosecute a person’s thoughts, and presumably his public utterances, and not just crimes of violence against gays, gay activists are leading the most recent and dangerous assault on the First Amendment. When Christian groups took out a series of newspaper advertisements exhorting gays to change their sexual choices, the gay lobby held a press conference in Washington, D.C., to accuse them of inciting violence against gays, pointing to the death of Matthew Shepard in Colorado. From the nation’s capital to the ivied halls of Barnard, the gay inquisitors would outlaw “hate speech” and expunge all favorable references to the traditional family from the public record. The Barnard incident reveals that it is one or the other: Gay “equality” means the elimination of the traditional family as the cultural locus of our institutions, both public and private.

The Times reports that what the amazonians and their sympathizers found particularly galling was that the offending sentence extolling graduates of women’s colleges for their marriageability and fecundity was in a section of the pamphlet called “Alumnae Achievement.” Indeed, it was put on par with the fact that “women’s college alumnae account for 30 percent of the highest ranking women in corporations.” Raising a family an “achievement?” Not in the new hate-free world of “tolerance” and “diversity.”