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A marriage equality reading list

Yesterday, the Supreme Court of the United States struck down part of the Defense of Marriage Act in their decision on the United States vs. Windsor. The judges also dismissed the Proposition 8 case (Hollingsworth vs. Perry), clearing the way for same-sex couples in California to marry. While such decisions may make the future of marriage equality seem clearer, there is still a great deal of debate and controversy in the United States and around the world. For those of you who are seeking to get a grip on the issue, we’ve compiled a brief list of resources.

Debating Same-Sex Marriage by John Corvino and Maggie Gallagher

In a point/counterpoint approach, John Corvino (a philosopher and prominent gay advocate) and Maggie Gallagher (a nationally syndicated columnist and co-founder of the National Organization for Marriage) explore fundamental questions surrounding same-sex marriage. John Corvino also discusses the same-sex marriage in a series of videos on YouTube (one below).

From Closet to Altar: Courts, Backlash, and the Struggle for Same-Sex Marriage by Michael J. Klarman

While this seems like an issue that has only recently emerged, Klarman provides a narrative of the legal proceedings from World War II leading up to yesterday’s decision, and studies litigation, social reform, and the phenomenon of political backlash to court decisions.

Courthouse Democracy and Minority Rights: Same-Sex Marriage in the States by Robert J. Hume, Ph.D.

Political science professor Robert Hume assesses the impact of state courts and provides background on their judicial impact. Also be sure to read Hume’s article on what’s next for same-sex marriage on the OUPblog.

How Sex Became a Civil Liberty by Leigh Ann Wheeler

The United States Constitution makes no mention of sexual rights or liberties, so why is it often invoked in sexual political arguments? Leigh Ann Wheeler explores the establishment of sexual rights and the ongoing debates surrounding it, including marriage equality.

What’s Wrong with Homosexuality? by John Corvino

Many people object to same-sex marriage on moral — rather than legal — grounds. Corvino argues that the fight for same-sex marriage, ultimately, is a fight for full inclusion in the moral fabric of society.

“Immodest Claims and Modest Contributions: Sexual Orientation in Comparative Constitutional Law” by Kenji Yoshino, Michael Kavey in The Oxford Handbook of Comparative Constitutional Law

In the context of sexual orientation, constitutional arguments often assume a categorical, ‘always/everywhere’ tenor that exposes them to contestation on comparative grounds, such as bans on lesbian, gay, and bisexual individuals from military service; the criminalization of same-sex sexual conduct; and relationship recognition for same-sex couples.

Same Sex Relationships: From ‘Odious Crime’ to ‘Gay Marriage’ by Stephen Cretney

How is the law responding to a remarkable change in social attitudes? Cretney considers the different techniques for bringing about change in the law, and contrasts what can properly be achieved by judicial decisions with what can only be achieved by legislation

“Same-Sex Marriage and the New Judicial Federalism: Why State Courts Should Not Consider Out-of-State Backlash” by Neal Devins in New Frontiers of State Constitutional Law: Dual Enforcement of Norms

What are the implications for the new judicial federalism in state constitutional interpretations in the context of same-sex marriage? While state supreme courts construing state constitutions should not take into account out-of-state backlash, it is entirely appropriate, and even desirable, for them to consider in-state inter-institutional implications of their decisions when contemplating the recognition of new constitutional rights.

The Bush Administration, Sex and the Moral Agenda by Edward Ashbee

A detailed and comprehensive survey of the George W. Bush administration policy-making towards issues such as abortion, sex education, obscenity and same-sex marriage.

Equality for Same-Sex Couples: The Legal Recognition of Gay Partnerships in Europe and the United States by Yuval Merin

How can we put yesterday’s decisions in a worldwide context? Merin identifies and critically compares four principal models for the legal regulation and recognition of same-sex partnerships: civil marriage, registered partnership, domestic partnership, and cohabitation.

Same Sex, Different Politics: Success and Failure in the Struggles over Gay Rights by Gary Mucciaroni

Why is it so much harder for American same-sex couples to get married than it is for them to adopt children? Mucciaroni explains why gay rights advocates have achieved dramatically different levels of success from one policy area to another.

scotus, doma, prop8
‘Fairytale wedding’ by Meghan Hess. Creative Commons License CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0. via Flickr.

“The Peculiar Stake U.S. Protestants Have in the Question of State Recognition of Same-Sex Marriages” by Mary Anne Case in After Secular Law

Why do evangelical Protestant religious conservatives claim that same-sex marriage recognition would undercut their own marriages? Case argues this can best be understood as the result of Protestant dependence on the state to enforce its legal traditions.

States of Passion: Law, Identity, and Social Construction of Desire by Yvonne Zylan

How does legal discourse shape sexual experience, sexual expression, and sexual identity? Zylan examines how sexuality is socially constructed through the institutionally-specific production of legal discourse.

Gay, Straight, and the Reason Why: The Science of Sexual Orientation by Simon LeVay

Where do LGBT rights fall on the spectrum of civil rights? Neuroscientist Simon LeVay presents the best current summary of the science of sexual orientation.

Gay Marriage: for Better or for Worse? : What We’ve Learned from the Evidence by William N. Eskridge, Jr. and Darren R. Spedale

Drawing from 17 years of data and experience with same-sex marriage in Scandinavia (in the form of registered partnerships), Spedale and Eskridge find that the evidence refutes conservative defense-of-marriage arguments and, in fact, demonstrates that the institution of marriage may indeed benefit from the legalization of gay marriage.

“The Supreme Court of the United States” in Oxford Bibliographies in Political Science

A number of gay and lesbian legal scholars have focused their attention on the battle over gay marriage, incurring criticism from other queer theorists for a limiting and conservative focus that asks society merely to treat gay unions just like other marriages rather than using queer theory to challenge the way law sees.

“Discrimination” in Oxford Bibliographies in Sociology

Discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation includes a wide variety of individual behaviors and institutional practices, from antigay workplace harassment to laws prohibiting same-sex couples from marriage or adoption.

“Sexual Minority Parenting” in Oxford Bibliographies in Psychology

The study of sexual minority parenting is a relatively new area. Samantha Tornello, Rachel Riskind, and Rachel Farr provide resources on the legal and social implications of same-sex marriage on parenting.

“Gay and Lesbian Parents” in Oxford Bibliographies in Childhood Studies

Research on gay and lesbian parenthood is diverse, covering a wide range of topics approached from different theoretical perspectives and using different methodological approaches. One theme is youngsters’ reflections on the political issue of marriage inequality.

“Gay Men” in Oxford Bibliographies in Social Work

In recent years same-sex marriage has been the most visible GLBT-related issue in the United States. A section of James I. Martin’s bibliography includes some of the best sources of in-depth information about the marriage issue.

“Same-Sex Marriage and Civil Unions” by Paul R. Brewer and Clyde Wilcox in Public Opinion Quarterly

For many Americans, the issue of same-sex marriage burst upon the political scene in the fall of 2003, when the highest court in Massachusetts ruled that the state had no grounds to deny gay and lesbian couples the right to marry. Paul R. Brewer and Clyde Wilcox examine it from a broader perspective.

“Changing Same-Sex Marriage Attitudes in America from 1988 Through 2010” by Dawn Michelle Baunach in Public Opinion Quarterly

Using OLS regression and decomposition techniques to analyze General Social Survey data, Dawn Michelle Baunach explains individuals’ attitudes toward same-sex marriage from 1988 to 2004, 2006, 2008, and 2010. The influences on same-sex marriage attitudes differed substantially over time.

“Federalism and Full Faith and Credit: Must States Recognize Out-of-State Same-Sex Marriages?” by John P. Feldmeier in Publius

Are other states, under the full faith and credit clause of Article IV of the U.S. Constitution, compelled of recognize same-sex marriages solemnized in other states? Under Article IV, the Congress could legislate on the issue and provide further guidance to states. Federal courts could intervene, and offer interpretations of the full faith and credit clause as it applies to same-sex marriages.

“Federalism and Equality Rights Implementation in Canada” by Linda A. White in Publius

What was the impact of federalism on reproductive and sexuality rights in Canada? Despite favorable Supreme Court rulings recognizing the essential validity of these actions (namely access to abortion and contraception, and marriage between same-sex partners), cooperation by another level of government is necessary in order to implement access.

Federalism and the Tug of War Within by Erin Ryan

Federalism versus states rights is a major legal issue for same-sex marriages in the United States. Erin Ryan has written previously for the OUPblog on why equal protection trumps federalism in same-sex marriage cases.

Blackstone’s Guide to the Equality Act 2010, Second Edition, edited by John Wadham, David Ruebain, Anthony Robinson, and Susie Uppal

This guide to one of the most significant reforms of discrimination legislation in the UK includes information on civil partnerships.

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