LGBT Activists Confront the Law
Publication Year: 2009
Fighting for marriage and family rights; protection from discrimination in employment, education, and housing; criminal law reform; economic justice; and health care reform: the LGBT movement is engaged in some of the most important cultural and political battles of our times. Seeking to reshape many of our basic social institutions, the LBGT movement's legal, political, and cultural campaigns reflect the complex visions, strategies, and rhetoric of the individuals and groups knocking at the law's door.
The original essays in this volume bring social movement scholarship and legal analysis together, enriching our understanding of social movements, LGBT politics and organizing, legal studies, and public policy. Moreover, they highlight the struggle to make the law relevant and responsive to the LGBT community. Ultimately, Queer Mobilizations examines how the LGBT movement's engagement with the law shapes the very meanings of sexuality, sex, gender, privacy, discrimination, and family in law and society.
Contributors: Ellen Ann Andersen, Steven A. Boutcher, Bayliss Camp, Casey Charles, Ashley Currier, Courtenay W. Daum, Shauna Fisher, David John Frank, Jonathan Goldberg-Hiller, Charles W. Gossett, Marybeth Herald, Nicholas Pedriana, Darren Rosenblum, Susan M. Sterett, and Amy L. Stone.
Published by: NYU Press
Title Page, Copyright
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This book represents a professional, political, and personal achievement for the three of us who co-edited it. The three of us have devoted our professional lives to studying various dimensions of social movements. Over the course of our careers, we've been lucky enough to participate in networks of scholars who share our interests. Through those networks, we met the contributors to this volume, some of whose work we have admired for...
1. The Challenge of Law Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, and Social Movements
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This volume examines the strategic ways in which the LGBT movement interacts with the law and the way those struggles, in turn, shape legal rules, public discourse, and the movement itself.1 Through an in-depth study of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender movement, we examine empirically the relationships among social movements, social change, and the law. Many of...
Part I: Social Movement Strategies and the Law
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2. Deferral of Legal Tactics: A Global LGBT Social Movement Organization's Perspective
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While many lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) movements around the world employ legal tactics (Adam et al. 1999), for some LGBT movements in the global South, state repression, scarce resources, and diverse constituencies with complex needs can restrict and complicate their tactical repertoires, making legal tactics unimaginable or temporarily not...
3. Queer Legal Victories Intersectionality Revisited
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In my 1995 article "Queer Intersectionality and the Failure of Lesbian and Gay 'Victories,'" I merged queer and intersectionality theories to critique four lesbian and gay legal "victories." 1 I argued that queer identity intersected with other identity characteristics, yielding queer communities whose diverse needs reflect their various class, race, gender, and sex identifications. This intersectional...
4. Intimate Equality: The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Movement's Legal Framing of Sodomy Laws in the Lawrence v. Texas Case
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In 2003, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a Texas statute that criminalized homosexual---but not heterosexual---sodomy (Lawrence v. Texas 2003). Lawrence signaled that the political majority's disapproval of homosexuality, by itself, could no longer justify statutes that legally denied gays and lesbians the full range of intimate human relationships and experiences available to...
5 Deciding Under the Influence? The "One-Hit Wonders" and Organized-Interest Participation in U.S. Supreme Court Gay Rights Litigation
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Over the past few decades, the struggles for and against the advancement of gay rights and interests---equal protection under the law, privacy rights, and same-sex marriage---have been waged in the courts. Landmark decisions by federal and state courts have increased the saliency of gay rights on the public and political agendas and mobilized individuals and organized...
6. Parents and Paperwork: Same-Sex Parents, Birth Certificates, and Emergent Legality
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The effort to add a second parent's name to a birth certificate has been one site of both individual and collective claims for recognition for queer parenting (Connolly 2002; Dalton 2001).1 The story of origins that birth certificates tell, cutting off the "back story" of other beginnings (Yngvesson and Coutin 2006), has allowed organizations to litigate claims to equality...
Part II: Activism, Discourse, and Legal Change
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7. The Reform of Sodomy Laws: From a World Society Perspective
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Conventional accounts of sodomy-law reforms1 tend to overstate the role of national factors, including local LGB social movements, and understate the role of global factors in promoting regulatory changes.2 The tendency is sustained in part by prevailing inclinations to focus analytical attention on particular legal reforms in particular country contexts. In this chapter, we take...
8. Like Sexual Orientation? Like Gender? Transgender Inclusion in Nondiscrimination Ordinances
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Between 1990 and 2000, local public officials across the country added explicit transgender protections to twenty-six nondiscrimination ordinances (Currah and Minter 2005).1 These transgender protections often involved redefining gender or subsuming gender identity within the definition of sexual orientation in the language of these antidiscrimination ordinances.2 This inclusion...
9. Pushing the Envelope: Dillon's Rule and Local Domestic-Partnership Ordinances
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A major part of the struggle for gay and lesbian rights in the United States has centered on efforts to have the relationships between same-sex couples recognized by society and treated in a manner comparable, if not identical, to the way in which relationships between opposite-sex couples are treated. One aspect of this struggle sought legal recognition of the relationships by local, state, and...
10. Explaining the Differences: Transgender Theories and Court Practice
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The categories of male and female have long been viewed as representing two separate and complementary sexes. Persons identifying as transgender, however, do not fit neatly into this binary model.1 But the yin-and-yang symmetry of the classification system, engraved in our collective unconscious, has a primal appeal that resists challenge, no matter the...
Part III: Legal Symbols: Constraints and Possibilities
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11. It Takes (at Least) Two to Tango: Fighting With Words in the Conflict Over Same-Sex Marriage
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Immediately following the California Supreme Court's ruling in favor of same-sex marriage, on May 15, 2008, the Family Research Council issued a press release with the following statement: "The California Supreme Court has taken a jackhammer to the democratic process, and the right of the people to affect change in public policy."1 On the same day, the Lambda Legal...
12. Do Civil Rights Have a Face? Reading the Iconography of Special Rights
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This chapter explores the aesthetics of an emergent movement in the United States that has most recently politicized, opposed, and limited same-sex marriage. Organized by conservative religious groups and Republican politicians, its call for law reform has become increasingly popularized through new political themes designed to modulate the value of rights and the place of law...
13. A Jury of One's Queers: Revisiting the Dan White Trial
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Critical queer studies examines the discursive formations through which sexual minorities continue to suffer, in the words of the late Justice Brennan, such a "pernicious and sustained hostility"---such an "immediate and severe opprobrium"---that their only counterparts in the United States are racial groups (Rowland v. Mad River Local School District, 470 U.S. 1009, 1014, 105...
14. The Gay Divorc�e: The Case of the Missing Argument
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Arguments over the propriety and wisdom of permitting same-sex couples to marry currently occupy a prominent place in the American landscape. The debate has played out in many venues, from courts to legislatures to ballots to books to blogs. No matter what the medium, a core argument advanced by marriage equality advocates has been that without the ability to marry, committed...
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Page Count: 448
Publication Year: 2009