Gay Marriage and Democracy: Equality for All

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Overview

In this provocative new work, R. Claire Snyder argues that the fundamental principles of American democracy not only allow but require the legalization of same-sex marriage. In addition to explaining the theoretical issues at stake, the book provides a short history of marriage, disentangling its interpersonal, communal, religious and civil components. In clear and concise language, Snyder examines and systematically addresses numerous critiques of same-sex marriage, including religious conservatism, traditionalism, the organized movement of the Christian Right, communitarianism, and academic "queer theory." By exploring the arguments swirling around this controversial topic from the perspective of democratic theory, Gay Marriage and Democracy shows that all citizens must be treated equally for democracy to truly succeed.
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Editorial Reviews

Choice
In presenting her own argument concisely, the author neatly synthesizes a wide swath of legal and theoretical literature in building her case ans in answering critics in the communitarian, religious conservative, and queer libertation schools of thought. . . . this well-written text enhances both introductory and more advanced conversations about and issue that seems certain to remain front and center in American political debates through the first decade of the century. Highly recommended.
Rhetoric and Public Affairs
As a book that hopes to 'convince the read that the fundamental principles of American Democracy not only allow but also require the legislation of same-sex marriage,' Claire Snyder's Gay Marriage and Democracy archives its purpose well. By the end, I found myself convinced of the central argument through her thorough use of evidence, deep citation, and varied examples. One of the greatest achievements of this book is the multi-angled approach it takes to scholarship….Snyder makes compelling and relevant arguments for her central goal, and thus Gay Marriage and Democracy stands as a good resource for anyone engaging academic debates on democracy, rights, or same-sex marriage.
Chip Berlet
Gay Marriage and Democracy combines serious scholarship with lively polemic. Claire Snyder dissects the contentious debate over gay marriage, revealing faulty logic, flawed legal arguments, failures to live up to the promises of equality enshrined in our country's founding documents, and feverish attempts to breech the wall separating church from state. She demostrates that anxiety over sexuality still generates bad public policy proposals in the United States, even if gay marriage is currently not banned in Boston.
Rebecca Mae Salokar
I know of no other work that provides such a comprehensive and focused explanation of why democracy demands gay marriage. Professor Snyder identifies and deconstructs the major arguments against same-sex unions, invoking political philosophy, legal history and religious tradition as the basis of her critique. But more importantly, she makes a convincing case for why the core values of American politics require that gay marriages be permitted in the United States.
Sean Cahill
Snyder argues compellingly that an America that denies legal equality to same-sex couple families is an America that is no longer democratic. Citing democratic theory, she explains the critical difference between democracy and simple majoritarianism, or mob rule. She also exposes the un-American nature of the would-be theocrats of the Christian right.
CHOICE
In presenting her own argument concisely, the author neatly synthesizes a wide swath of legal and theoretical literature in building her case ans in answering critics in the communitarian, religious conservative, and queer libertation schools of thought. . . . this well-written text enhances both introductory and more advanced conversations about and issue that seems certain to remain front and center in American political debates through the first decade of the century. Highly recommended.
John Ehrenberg
Cutting through the fear and self-righteousness that make it so difficult to talk honestly about gay marriage, R. Clare Snyder presents a powerful case for full equality before the law. Written with clarity and purpose, Gay Marrige and Democracy reveals the great strength of democracy's most basic principle. Snyder's impressive discussion is a wonderful example of intelligent analysis and fidelity to justice.
Rhetoric & Public Affairs
As a book that hopes to 'convince the read that the fundamental principles of American Democracy not only allow but also require the legislation of same-sex marriage,' Claire Snyder's Gay Marriage and Democracy archives its purpose well. By the end, I found myself convinced of the central argument through her thorough use of evidence, deep citation, and varied examples. One of the greatest achievements of this book is the multi-angled approach it takes to scholarship….Snyder makes compelling and relevant arguments for her central goal, and thus Gay Marriage and Democracy stands as a good resource for anyone engaging academic debates on democracy, rights, or same-sex marriage.
Publishers Weekly
Snyder has written a terse handbook of rebuttals to most every anti-gay marriage argument out there-and states that a legitimate democracy must legalize gay marriage. An assistant professor of government and politics at George Mason University, Snyder backs up this claim with 27 clearly argued pages of political theory that are the best part of this book. The argument hinges on the concept of just law as defined by Martin Luther King Jr. and upheld by the Supreme Court: "a code that a majority compels a minority to follow [and] that it is willing to follow itself." Because heterosexuals would not be willing to have their own marriages prohibited, they cannot legitimately prohibit it for homosexuals. Snyder neatly disentangles the legitimate claims of religion (to live according to one's moral framework) from those that are antidemocratic (to impose one's moral framework on others). She also takes on biblical arguments, rehashing some well-known controversies but adding useful Jewish perspectives. By foregrounding the political traditions on which American democracy rests, Snyder gives those on the left a considerable weapon against assertions that religious traditions should guide the nation's future. (Mar.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780742527867
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 2/28/2006
  • Series: Polemics Series
  • Pages: 188
  • Product dimensions: 9.00 (w) x 6.00 (h) x 0.56 (d)

Meet the Author

R. Claire Snyder is Associate Professor of Government and Politics in Political Theory in the Department of Public and International Affairs at George Mason University.
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Table of Contents

Chapter 1 What Does Same-Sex Marriage Have To Do With Democracy? Chapter 2 What Is Marriage? Chapter 3 The Logic of Liberalism: American Political Theory and the Case for Gay Marriage Chapter 4 A False Consensus: Christian Right Politics and the Attack on Same-Sex Marriage Chapter 5 Neo-Patriarchy and the Agenda of the Anti-Gay Right Part 6 Are Lesbian and Gay Americans Actually Citizens? The Homophobic Myopia of Communitarianism Part 7 Marriage, Equality, and Sexual Freedom Part 8 Index
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