Andrew Sullivan remembers what it was like to be young and gay.

It hurt to think he would never have the opportunity to marry. It was painful to know that his Catholic religion denounces the type of relationships he wanted to have."You are taught that you cannot (be gay) so you do your best to push it away, forget about it or ignore it," Sullivan said. "But the vast majority of gay people - no matter what denomination they belong to - find that impossible."

Sullivan, a 33-year-old advocate for gay and lesbian rights, gave the keynote address at the Intermountain Conference on Homosexuality at the University of Utah Friday. The conference was sponsored by the Graduate School of Social Work and Graduate School of Education at the U., in conjunction with Family Fellowship and PFLAG (Parents, Family and Friends of Lesbians and Gays).

He said he chose to be a gay-rights advocate because he doesn't want anyone to have to go through what he did as a young homosexual.

Sullivan talked about his latest book, "For Better or Worse? Same Sex Marriages, Pro and Con," during the speech. The fact that homosexuals cannot marry gives them a sense that they will live lonely lives, he said. It's social factors like this one that causes the suicide rate to be much higher among gay teenagers.