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A Los Angeles Times Best Book of 2015: “A riveting account of a watershed moment in our history.”—President Bill Clinton Renowned litigator Roberta Kaplan knew from the beginning that it was the perfect case to bring down the so-called Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Edie Windsor and Thea Spyer had been together as a couple, in sickness and in health, for more than forty years—enduring society’s homophobia as well as Spyer’s near total paralysis from multiple sclerosis. Although the couple was finally able to marry, when Spyer died the federal government refused to recognize their marriage, forcing Windsor to pay a huge estate tax bill. In this gripping, definitive account of one of our nation’s most significant civil rights victories—named a Ms. Magazine Top 10 Feminist Book of 2015 and a National Law Journal Top 10 Supreme Court Aficionado Book of 2015—Kaplan describes meeting Windsor and their journey together to defeat DOMA. She shares the behind-the-scenes highs and lows, the excitement and the worries, and provides intriguing insights into her historic argument before the Supreme Court. A critical and previously untold part of the narrative is Kaplan’s own personal story, including her struggle for self-acceptance in order to create a loving family of her own. Then Comes Marriage tells this quintessentially American story with honesty, humor, and heart. It is the momentous yet intimate account of a thrilling victory for equality under the law for all Americans, gay or straight.
A “volume of lasting significance” that illuminates how the clash between sex and religion has defined our nation’s history (Lee C. Bollinger, president, Columbia University). Lauded for “bringing a bracing and much-needed dose of reality about the Founders’ views of sexuality” (New York Review of Books), Geoffrey R. Stone’s Sex and the Constitution traces the evolution of legal and moral codes that have legislated sexual behavior from America’s earliest days to today’s fractious political climate. This “fascinating and maddening” (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette) narrative shows how agitators, moralists, and, especially, the justices of the Supreme Court have navigated issues as divisive as abortion, homosexuality, pornography, and contraception. Overturning a raft of contemporary shibboleths, Stone reveals that at the time the Constitution was adopted there were no laws against obscenity or abortion before the midpoint of pregnancy. A pageant of historical characters, including Voltaire, Thomas Jefferson, Anthony Comstock, Margaret Sanger, and Justice Anthony Kennedy, enliven this “commanding synthesis of scholarship” (Publishers Weekly) that dramatically reveals how our laws about sex, religion, and morality reflect the cultural schisms that have cleaved our nation from its founding.
A New York Times Notable Book of the Year A Washington Post Best Book of the Year (Nonfiction) A Kirkus Best Book of the Year “[A] riveting legal drama, a snapshot in time, when the gay rights movement altered course and public opinion shifted with the speed of a bullet train...Becker's most remarkable accomplishment is to weave a spellbinder of a tale that, despite a finale reported around the world, manages to keep readers gripped until the very end.”-The Washington Post A tour de force of groundbreaking reportage by Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Jo Becker, Forcing the Spring is the definitive account of five remarkable years in American civil rights history: when the United States experienced a tectonic shift on the issue of marriage equality. Beginning with the historical legal challenge of California's ban on same-sex marriage, Becker expands the scope to encompass all aspects of this momentous struggle, offering a gripping behind-the-scenes narrative told with the lightning pace of the greatest legal thrillers. For nearly five years, Becker was given free rein in the legal and political war rooms where the strategy of marriage equality was plotted. She takes us inside the remarkable campaign that rebranded a movement; into the Oval Office where the president and his advisors debated how to respond to a fast-changing political landscape; into the chambers of the federal judges who decided that today's bans on same-sex marriage were no more constitutional than previous century's bans on interracial marriage; and into the mindsets of the Supreme Court judges who decided the California case and will likely soon decide the issue for the country at large. From the state-by state efforts to win marriage equality at the ballot box to the landmark Supreme Court case that struck down a law that banned legally married gay and lesbian couples from receiving federal benefits, Becker weaves together the political and legal forces that reshaped a nation. Forcing the Spring begins with California's controversial ballot initiative Proposition 8, which banned gay men and lesbians from marrying the person they loved. This electoral defeat galvanized an improbable alliance of opponents to the ban, with political operatives and Hollywood royalty enlisting attorneys Ted Olson and David Boies—the opposing counsels in the Supreme Court’s Bush v. Gore case—to join together in a unique bipartisan challenge to the political status quo. Despite initial opposition from the gay rights establishment, the case against Proposition 8 would ultimately force the issue of marriage equality all the way to the Supreme Court, transforming same-sex marriage from a partisan issue into a modern crisis of civil rights. Shuttling between the twin American power centers of Hollywood and Washington—and based on access to all the key players in the Justice Department and the White House—Becker offers insider coverage on the true story of how President Obama “evolved” to embrace marriage equality. What starts out as a tale of an epic legal battle grows into the story of the evolution of a country. Becker shows how the country reexamined its opinions on same-sex marriage, an issue that raced along with a snowballing velocity which astounded veteran political operatives. Here is the ringside account of this unprecedented change, the fastest shift in public opinion ever seen in modern American politics. Clear-eyed and even-handed, Forcing the Spring is political and legal journalism at its finest, offering an unvarnished perspective on the extraordinary transformation of America and an inside look into the fight to win the rights of marriage and full citizenship for all. From the Hardcover edition.
How Gays and Lesbians Brought Marriage Equality to America
Author: Nathaniel Frank
Publisher: Harvard University Press
Some of the most divisive contests shaping the quest for marriage equality occurred not on the culture-war front lines but within the ranks of LGBTQ advocates. Nathaniel Frank tells the dramatic story of how an idea that once seemed unfathomable—and for many gays and lesbians undesirable—became a legal and moral right in just half a century.
This Palgrave Pivot presents a series of political economy short stories of collective agency, weaving together the history of a progressive change with a discussion of the role of institutions to effect change. These stories highlight sustained activism around valuing caring, ending discrimination, protecting the environment, improving worker well-being, and reimagining ways to encourage local economic development by restoring public-private social balance. Ultimately, these stories demonstrate that challenges to the neoliberal economy are possible. Neoliberalism can be viewed as a value structure that is undermining sustainable human development by elevating the level of risk experienced in daily economic life. Its hallmarks are globalization, market liberalization, deregulation, financialization, cutbacks in social provisioning through the public sector, and restructuring of labor markets in ways that increase instability. Social movements have responded, agitating for change. The stories here provide examples of how social actors engage in collective behavior to advance the objectives of economic justice, democratic participation in economic life, and human development.