Gay Families and the Courts: The Quest for Equal Rights

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Overview

Susan Gluck Mezey's newest book, Gay Families and the Courts, is a compelling examination of the role of the state and federal courts in furthering the goals of the gay and lesbian community. Unlike Mezey's earlier book, Queers in Court, this book evaluates the extent to which litigation is effective in advancing equal rights for gay families_families in which at least one member is gay_as they seek to expand their opportunities and battle discrimination. Mezey shows how the courts address gay and lesbian rights and sexual orientation in schools and social organizations such as the Boy Scouts along with family-oriented problems such as marriage and parenthood. In doing so, Mezey emphasizes the complexity of the issues involved in the cases, and assesses the degree to which the outcome of the litigation is explained by the type of case, the type of court, and the judge's perception of his or her role as a policymaker. It is a valuable reference for scholars interested in judicial, legislative, and executive policymaking at the federal and state level as well as anyone interested in LGBT politics.

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Editorial Reviews

Booklist
A valuable resource for attorneys and scholars.
Choice
In sharing her nuanced feelings about the role of courts, Mezey also provides succint and accessible overviews of the legal issues and the case law.... Recommended.
Criminal Law Library
Mezey (political science–Loyola Chicago) is an established author in the legal rights realm as it relates to women and minority groups. The relationship between public policy and the law as it pertains to LGBT issues is explored in an attempt to clarify where the courts stand with respect to the extent to which gay rights permeates marriage and the family, as well as the level to which a maturing framework for social change manifests itself within an evolving legal system.

Mezey’s work is an excellent primer for the researcher of high-profile gay rights issues, such as same-sex marriage and freedom of association. The manner in which judges in various states have analyzed, dissected, and parsed opposing arguments is presented in great detail. Common legal trends that cross state lines are noted, as the author explains the challenges facing plaintiffs who pursue untested notions. Mezey concludes that the concept of a constitutional guarantee of the right to same-sex marriage is doomed to failure as long as the judiciary refuses to embrace a theory of social change which incorporates a framework for marriage that includes both procreation and the social well-being of children within a society that permits marriage between members of the same sex.

Superbly indexed by subject heading as well as case law, the author also provides an invaluable bibliography of print and electronic resources to assist the reader. The book is aimed at an academic audience and is thus recommended mainly for college, university, and law libraries.

The Law and Politics Book Review
Susan Gluck Mezey has created an impressively researched and thorough account of recent litigation concerning the rights of sexual minorities in the United States….Overall, the book makes a tremendous contribution to the study of judicial policymaking and to the study of sexuality and politics by chronicling, in great detail, the litigation surrounding important elements of LGBT family life….these chapters offer an impressive overview of the litigation and the political reactions to it. Particularly useful is the discussion of the complex legal and political dynamics surrounding the brief court-mandated legalization in California and the quick enactment by votes of Proposition 8….Mezey has created a tremendous resource of students and scholars of the courts and the study of sexuality….an excellent addition to the growing scholarship on law, politics, and policies relating to sexual minorities and presents more evidence why this topic is particularly important for scholars of the judiciary.
CHOICE
In sharing her nuanced feelings about the role of courts, Mezey also provides succint and accessible overviews of the legal issues and the case law.... Recommended.
Daniel R. Pinello
Gay Families and the Courts is a masterful survey of American case law affecting sexual minorities in the policy areas of parenting, marriage, schools, and the Boy Scouts. In characteristic fashion, Susan Gluck Mezey distills essential judicial decisions down to accessible cores and then fashions lively narratives from the array. The chapters on the Boy Scouts and on anti-gay bullying and harassment in primary and secondary education are especially compelling.
Patrick Egan
Gay Americans have turned to the courts to seek full recognition of their rights not only as individuals, but as spouses, as parents, and as youth entrusted to others' care. Here, in one place, is a timely, comprehensive account of the evolving jurisprudence of these issues—and an even-handed assessment of whether this litigation-based strategy has been successful.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780742562196
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 10/16/2009
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 290
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Susan Gluck Mezey is a professor of political science and department chair at Loyola University Chicago. Her recent publications include Queers in Court: Gay Rights Law and Public Policy; Disabling Interpretations: Judicial Implementation of the Americans with Disabilities Act; Elusive Equality: Women's Rights, Public Policy, and the Law, and Pitiful Plaintiffs: Child Welfare Litigation and the Federal Courts.

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Table of Contents

Chapter 1 Dedication Chapter 2 Acknowledgments Chapter 3 Introduction Chapter 4 Chapter 1: Parenting Chapter 5 Chapter 2: The Right to Marry: Part 1 Chapter 6 Chapter 3: The Right to Marry: Part 2 Chapter 7 Chapter 4: The School Setting Chapter 8 Chapter 5: The Boy Scouts Chapter 9 Conclusion Chapter 10 Cases Chapter 11 References Chapter 12 Index

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