If you're following the news today, or seeing all the red equality icons on Facebook, you areno doubt thinking about marriage equality. The Supreme Court hears arguments in two cases this week—Hollingsworth v. Perry and United States v. Windsor—that have the potential to tip the judicial scales in favor of greater legal equality for LGBT families. Here's a selection of reading that will help you dig deeper.
Beacon Books on LGBT Equality
God vs. Gay?: The Religious Case for Equality by Jay Michaelson
Does the Bible prohibit homosexuality? No, says Bible scholar and activist Jay Michaelson. But not only that: Michaelson also shows that the vast majority of our shared religious traditions support the full equality and dignity of LGBT people. In this accessible, passionate, and provocative book, Michaelson argues for equality, not despite religion but because of it.
Outlaw Marriages: The Hidden Histories of Fifteen Extraordinary Same-Sex Couples by Rodger Streitmatter
For more than a century before gay marriage became a hot-button political issue, same-sex unions flourished in America. Pairs of men and pairs of women joined together in committed unions, standing by each other “for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health” for periods of thirty or forty—sometimes as many as fifty—years. In short, they loved and supported each other every bit as much as any husband and wife.
In Outlaw Marriages, cultural historian Rodger Streitmatter reveals how some of these unions didn’t merely improve the quality of life for the two people involved but also enriched the American culture.
Among the high-profile couples whose lives and loves are illuminated in the following pages are Nobel Peace Prize winner Jane Addams and Mary Rozet Smith, literary icon Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas, author James Baldwin and Lucien Happersberger, and artists Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg.
Read an excerpt of Outlaw Marriages.
Beyond (Straight and Gay) Marriage: Valuing All Families under the Law by Nancy D. Polikoff
Beyond (Straight and Gay) Marriage reframes the family-rights debate by arguing that marriage shouldn't bestow special legal privileges upon couples because people, both heterosexual and LGBT, live in a variety of relationships-including unmarried couples of any sexual orientation, single-parent households, extended biological family units, and myriad other familial configurations. Nancy D. Polikoff shows how the law can value all families, and why it must.
Engaging and largely untold, From the Closet to the Courtroom explores how five pivotal lawsuits have altered LGBT history. Beginning each case narrative at the center-with the litigants and their lawyers-law professor Carlos Ball follows the stories behind each crucial lawsuit. He traces the parties from their communities to the courtroom, while deftly weaving in rich sociohistorical context and analyzing the lasting legal and political impact of each judicial outcome.
Will same-sex couples destroy "traditional" marriage, soon to be followed by the collapse of all civilization? That charge has been leveled throughout history whenever the marriage rules change. But marriage, as E. J. Graff shows in this lively, fascinating tour through the history of marriage in the West, has always been a social battleground, its rules constantly shifting to fit each era and economy. The marriage debates have been especially tumultuous for the past hundred and fifty years-in ways that lead directly to today's debate over whether marriage could mean not just Boy + Girl = Babies, but also Girl + Girl = Love.