With her freshman book, law professor Polikoff, who has taught, litigated and written about family law, civil procedure and sexuality for more than 30 years, deftly argues that the law's narrow definitions of "family" and "marriage" no longer work in today's society-not just for the LGBT community but the country at large. With many households following untraditional family models, Polikoff says, we need to look at ways the law can change to value all families beyond those created by marriage, including same and different-sexed, married and unmarried couples. Polikoff draws on legal history and contemporary (often eye-opening) court cases to make her argument. Topics such as inheritance, tax consequences, workers' compensation death benefits, social security, probate, adoption and health care, plus their impact the diversity of today's "family units" are simplified for the reader. Polikoff wades through legislation and legalese with style and substance, plus a touch of flair. Impeccably researched, the book offers an evocative read that takes in the full breadth of the issues affecting marriages and avoids pedantry while remaining persuasive. (Feb.)Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Beyond (Straight and Gay) Marriage: Valuing All Families Under the Lawby 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.
"Polikoff's argument is provocative, illuminating, and original."—John D'Emilio, author of Lost Prophet: The Life and Times of Bayard Rustin
"The book many have been waiting for . . . Polikoff provides answers worth contemplation and implementation." —Ruthann Robson, Professor of Law and University Distinguished Professor, City University of New York School of Law, Women's Review of Books
"Polikoff's book comes just in time . . . Using real case studies, Polikoff makes a strong case that furthering the legal protections for all people, regardless of relationship status, will help the LGBT community more than marriage itself."—Rachel Pepper, Curve Magazine
"A bold, detailed, reasoned (even subversive) tome that makes the case for moving the debate beyond the issue of marriage rights and into the realm of creating laws that protect all of us."—Scott Stiffler, Edge
"This book really matters. It is brilliant and thoughtful-not simply about a set of laws, it is a manifesto to transform the way we understand, recognize, and respect the reality of our diverse and complex family compositions."—Amber Hollibaugh, senior strategist, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force
"Polikoff mobilizes an impressive array of legal history and contemporary court cases to show how marriage, whether same-sex or heterosexual, has ceased to be the only place where people incur long-term obligations."—Stephanie Coontz, author of Marriage, a History: How Love Conquered Marriage
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Meet the Author
Nancy Polikoff is a Professor of Law at American University Washington College of Law, where she teaches Sexuality and the Law and has taught Family Law for more than 20 years. Previously, she supervised the family law programs of the Women's Legal Defense Fund, and before that she practiced law as part of a feminist law collective, where she specialized in family law. For more than 30 years, she has been writing about, speaking about, and litigating cases involving lesbian and gay families. Professor Polikoff's articles have appeared in many law journals, including those at University of Chicago, Georgetown, Harvard, Hastings, and Hofstra. Her history of the development of the law affecting lesbian and gay parenting appears as a chapter in the 2000 book, Creating Change: Sexuality, Public Policy, and Civil Rights, edited by John D'Emilio, William Turner, and Urvashi Vaid. Professor Polikoff was successful appellate counsel in the case that the established the right of lesbian and gay couples to jointly adopt children in the District of Columbia, and in a Maryland case overturning a visitation order prohibiting any contact between a gay noncustodial father's children and his life partner. Visit her website at beyondstraightandgaymarriage.com.
Michael Bronski is professor of practice in media and activism in the Women, Gender, and Sexuality Program at Harvard University. He has written extensively on LGBT issues for four decades, in both mainstream and queer publications, and is the author of three other books and editor of several anthologies.
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