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Equality Practice: Civil Unions and the Future of Gay Rights

Overview

William Eskridge, a Yale law professor chronicles the Vermont law which legalised civil unions - distinct from marriage - for same sex couples.

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Equality Practice: Civil Unions and the Future of Gay Rights: Civil Unions and the Future of Gay Rights

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Overview

William Eskridge, a Yale law professor chronicles the Vermont law which legalised civil unions - distinct from marriage - for same sex couples.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
While more gay couples are saying, "I do," federal and state governments are still resolutely saying, "You can't." This judicious and discerning analysis of the legal, social and ethical debate over same-sex marriage comes down squarely on the side of recognition of gay and lesbian relationships, but argues that the model of civil unions enacted by Vermont in 2000 (giving gay couples the legal rights of marriage without the name) is a more winnable fight. Eskridge, a professor of jurisprudence at Yale (and an openly gay man), carefully explicates Baehr v. Lewin (the Hawaiian case that nearly allowed same-sex marriage), the domestic partnership movement, same-sex marriage fights in other countries and the passing of the Defense of Marriage Act in Congress, which prohibits the federal government from acknowledging state-recognized gay marriage. Distinct from radicalism (forcing gay marriage through the law) or traditionalism (refusing to accept any change in established marriage), Eskridge argues for what he calls "equality practice," which "does not entail immediate equality," but is a "process by which gay people are working for their inclusion in state-recognized institutions of all sorts." Presenting and challenging a wide variety of views from right-wing ideologue Lynn Wardle to radical lesbian legal theorist Paula Ettelbrick, and relying on political and social theorists such as Michel Foucault and John Rawls, Eskridge opts for a middle road of slow progress to allow for mutual understanding. (Feb.) Forecast: This book is largely a refinement of the ideas found in Eskridge's 1996 The Case for Same-Sex Marriage. It lacks most of the conservative opinions that peppered that earlier book, but its moderate position is sure to annoy progressive gay activists and conservatives alike. The lucid but dense argumentation should restrict it to those actively hashing out the issues and to larger university collections. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
While more gay couples are saying, "I do," federal and state governments are still resolutely saying, "You can't." This judicious and discerning analysis of the legal, social and ethical debate over same-sex marriage comes down squarely on the side of recognition of gay and lesbian relationships, but argues that the model of civil unions enacted by Vermont in 2000 (giving gay couples the legal rights of marriage without the name) is a more winnable fight. Eskridge, a professor of jurisprudence at Yale (and an openly gay man), carefully explicates Baehr v. Lewin (the Hawaiian case that nearly allowed same-sex marriage), the domestic partnership movement, same-sex marriage fights in other countries and the passing of the Defense of Marriage Act in Congress, which prohibits the federal government from acknowledging state-recognized gay marriage. Distinct from radicalism (forcing gay marriage through the law) or traditionalism (refusing to accept any change in established marriage), Eskridge argues for what he calls "equality practice," which "does not entail immediate equality," but is a "process by which gay people are working for their inclusion in state-recognized institutions of all sorts." Presenting and challenging a wide variety of views from right-wing ideologue Lynn Wardle to radical lesbian legal theorist Paula Ettelbrick, and relying on political and social theorists such as Michel Foucault and John Rawls, Eskridge opts for a middle road of slow progress to allow for mutual understanding. (Feb.) Forecast: This book is largely a refinement of the ideas found in Eskridge's 1996 The Case for Same-Sex Marriage. It lacks most of the conservative opinions that peppered that earlier book, but its moderate position is sure to annoy progressive gay activists and conservatives alike. The lucid but dense argumentation should restrict it to those actively hashing out the issues and to larger university collections. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780415930734
  • Publisher: Taylor & Francis
  • Publication date: 1/2/2002
  • Pages: 240
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.63 (d)

Meet the Author

William Eskridge, Jr. wrote the landmark book, The Case for Same Sex Marriage (Free Press, 1996). He is the John A. Garver Professor of Jurisprudence at Yale Law School and has published widely both in academic law journals and in the popular press.

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Table of Contents

Prologue and Acknowledgments
Ch. 1 Same-Sex Marriage and the Politics of Sexuality 1
Ch. 2 The Vermont Civil Unions Law 43
Ch. 3 Comparative Law Lessons for the Same-Sex Marriage Movement 83
Ch. 4 Civil Unions and Liberal Jurisprudence: Equality Practice 127
Ch. 5 Equality Practice and the Civic Republic 159
Ch. 6 Equality Practice as a Postmodern Cultural Form 197
Epilogue: Equality Practice, the Evolution of Social Norms, and the Future of Gay Rights 231
Notes 243
Index 269
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