Love Unites Us: Winning the Freedom to Marry in America

Love Unites Us: Winning the Freedom to Marry in America


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Firsthand accounts from the attorneys and advocates who brought the historic cases and fought to secure the freedom to marry for same-sex couples.
The June 2015 decision in Obergefell v. Hodges was a sweeping victory for the freedom to marry, but it was one step in a long process. Love Unites Us is the history of activists’ passion and persistence in the struggle for marriage rights for same-sex couples in the United States, told in the words of those who waged the battle.
Launching the fight for the freedom to marry had neither an obvious nor an uncontested strategy. To many activists, achieving marriage equality seemed far-fetched, but the skeptics were proved wrong in the end. Proactive arguments in favor of love, family, and commitment were more effective than arguments that focused on rights and the goal of equality at work. Telling the stories of people who loved and cared for one another, in sickness and in health, cut through the antigay noise and moved people—not without backlash and not overnight, but faster than most activists and observers had ever imagined. With compelling stories from leading attorneys and activists including Evan Wolfson, Mary L. Bonauto, Jon W. Davidson, and Paul M. Smith, Love Unites Us explains how gay and lesbian couples achieved the right to marry.
“An exceptional piece of work by courageous and innovative leaders.” —Eric H. Holder Jr., 82nd US attorney general
“Captures the amazing story of the fight for marriage equality—in California and around the country. A remarkable journey recounted with truth and eloquence.” —Gavin Newsom, governor of California

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781595585509
Publisher: New Press, The
Publication date: 06/14/2016
Pages: 352
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

Kevin Cathcart has been the executive director of Lambda Legal since 1992. Cathcart was involved in Lawrence v. Texas and marriage equality victories across the country. He lives in New York City. Leslie Gabel-Brett is the director of education and public affairs for Lambda Legal and lives in Brooklyn. Lambda Legal has offices in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Atlanta, and Dallas.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Love Unites Us Leslie J. Gabel-Brett Kevin M. Cathcart 1

I Opening Arguments, 1970-98 19

The First Marriage Cases, 1970-74 William N. Eskridge Jr. 21

Gay Marriage: A Must or a Bust? Two Essays from Out/Look, 1989 28

Why Gay People Should Seek the Right to Marry? Thomas B. Stoddard 29

Since When Is Marriage a Path to Liberation? Paula L. Ettelbrick 34

The Hawai'i Marriage Case Launches the U.S. Freedom-to-Marry Movement for Equality 40

Evan Wolfson, reprinted with permission from Legal Recognition of Same-Sex Partnerships: A Study of National, European and International Law

"Neither the first nor the last" Hawai'i plaintiffs Ninia Baehr Genora Dancel 45

II Sex Before Marriage: Striking Down Sodomy Laws 49

The Sodomy Roundtable Kevin M. Cathcart 51

"Not tonight, dear-it's a felony": Lawrence v. Texas and the Path to Marriage Equality Suzanne B. Goldberg 56

Arguing Lawrence v. Texas at the Supreme Court Paul Smith 66

III Victories, Defeats, and a Plan to Win Marriage, 1996-2009 71

The Litigation: First Judicial Victories in Vermont, Massachusetts, and Connecticut Mary L. Bonauto 73

My Mothers Said "I do" Annie Goodridge, daughter of Massachusetts plaintiffs 90

Love Makes a Family in Connecticut Anne Stanback 92

The Plan to Win Marriage Matt Coles 100

Movement + Strategy + Campaign: The Freedom to Marry Winning Combination Evan Wolfson Adam Polaski 108

Losing Forward: The Marriage Case in New York Jeffrey S. Trachtman 120

"Our liberties we prize": Winning Marriage in Iowa Camilla Taylor 131

IV The Long, Winding Road to Marriage in California, 2004-13 143

California Dreaming: Winning Marriage Equality in the California Courts Shannon Minter 145

Parallel Journeys Through Discrimination: Asian Americans and Modern Marriage Equality Karin Wang 157

Translating Equality: On the Role of LGBT Latinas/os in the Marriage Movement Francisco Dueñas 161

This Changes Everything: Proposition 8 Kate Kendell 168

Restoring Marriage to California: Hollingsworth v. Perry Kris Perry Lisa Hardaway 176

V Hopes Rise and DOMA Falls, 2007-15 181

New Frontiers: State Legislative Wins and Federal DOMA Challenges? Mary L. Bonauto Gary D. Buseck Janson Wu 183

Tested at the Ballot Box in 2012? Marc Solomon Thalia Zepatos 195

Putting Faith to the Test: Black Leaders and the Maryland Victory Sharon Lettman-Hicks 200

"The words 'gay' and 'marriage' were not even used in the same sentence." Remembering Illinois plaintiffVernita Gray Pat Ewert 207

Don't Postpone Joy: Taking Down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA)? James Esseks 210

The Wait Is Over: Eleven Years to Marriage in New Jersey Hayley Gorenberg 218

The Unlikely Domino: Kitchen v. Herbert? Peggy A. Tomsic 227

Hoosiers IN Love: Indiana's Express Path to Equality Paul D. Castillo 235

Justice Justice You Shall Pursue Indiana plaintiff Amy Sandler 244

A Long Battle Finally Won: Marriage in Florida Nadine Smith 248

VI Closing Arguments, 2015 259

10:02 on Tuesday Morning: Arguing Obergefell Before the U.S. Supreme Court Mary L. Bonauto 261

My Thirty-Year Journey to the Obergefell Case Alphonse Gerhardstein 265

Obergefell v. Hodges-A Leap of Love? Susan Sommer 268

After Thirty-Nine Years, Harried Under the Law Puerto Rico plaintiffs Maritza López Avilés Iris Delia Rivera Rivera 282

VII Looking to the Future 289

A Glass Only Half Full: The Ongoing Struggle for LGBT Rights? Jon W. Davidson 291

My Love-Hate Relationship with Marriage Beverly Tillery 302

Gender Identity Defines Sex: Updating the Law to Reflect Modern Medical Science Is Key to Transgender Rights? M. Dru Levasseur, reprinted with permission from Vermont Law Review 306

From Lavender Scare to Rainbow House: The Ongoing Fight for Full Federal Equality Gautam Raghavan 310

Fighting for an AIDS-Free Generation? Scott A. Schoettes 314

A Return to the Root Andrea J. Ritchie 318

Shields Not into Swords: Stopping the Misuse of Religious Freedom for Discrimination? Jennifer C. Pizer 323

Notes 335

Index 346

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