. . . but he doesn't help his cause when he makes arguments like this:
The evidence that the actual Spartans were homosexual [thanks James] is scant and somewhat contradictory. In the most frequently cited classical source, "The Polity of the Lacedaemons," Xenephon insists that the Spartans were not homosexual in the manner of the Boetians and Eleians:
We know that the rest of the Hellenes deal with this relationship in different ways, either after the manner of the Boeotians, where man and boy are intimately united by a bond like that of wedlock, or after the manner of the Eleians, where the fruition of beauty is an act of grace; whilst there are others who would absolutely debar the lover from all conversation and discourse with the beloved.
Lycurgus adopted a system opposed to all of these alike. Given that some one, himself being all that a man ought to be, should in admiration of a boy's soul endeavour to discover in him a true friend without reproach, and to consort with him—this was a relationship which Lycurgus commended, and indeed regarded as the noblest type of bringing up. But if, as was evident, it was not an attachment to the soul, but a yearning merely towards the body, he stamped this thing as foul and horrible; and with this result, to the credit of Lycurgus be it said, that in Lacedaemon the relationship of lover and beloved is like that of parent and child or brother and brother where carnal appetite is in abeyance. (301, emphasis mine)
Note that while there are no carnal relations allowed in Sparta, the male-male couple is still referred to as "lover and beloved," which leads me to believe this could be a rough Spartan equivalent of the Sacred Band of Thebes. The other most frequently cited ancient source cited on homosexuality in Sparta is Plutarch's "Life of Lycurgus," in which he describes the wedding night and connubial bliss of the married Spartan couple thus:
Having stayed there a short time, he modestly retired to his usual apartment, to sleep with the other young men; and he observed the same conduct afterwards, spending the day with his companions, and reposing himself with them in the night, nor even visiting his bride, but with great caution and apprehensions of being discovered by the rest of the family; the bride, at the same time, exerted all her art to contrive convenient opportunities for their private meetings. (112, emphasis mine)
The Spartans are still not homosexual in the manner of the Boetians, Eleians, or a host of my closest friends; however, on their wedding nights they gave the bride a man's haircut, dressed her up men's clothes, did their thing, then "retired to [the] usual apartment, to sleep with the other young men." Lycurgus seems to have mandated that all young men need and must be double-super-secret beards, which means that because no one is gay, everyone is; or that because everyone is gay, no one is—or maybe they were Heisenbergian beards, in that no Spartan could be measurably gay while being observed and vice versa because we have inadequate tools.
So even the most charitably homophobic reading of the classical literature puts to lie the notion that someone can be a Spartan warrior and unquestionably straight at the same time. From our perspective, being a Spartan warrior entails engaging in behaviors that range from "overtly homosexual" to "extremely homosocial," so Liefeld's claim that his character is "a Spartan, but not a gay one" smooths the wrinkles of historical truth in the name of hospital corners.
(h/t Bill Reed.)