Same-Sex Marriage and American Constitutionalism: A Study in Federalism, Separation of Powers, and Individual Rights

Paul Dry Books
Free sample

The two-decades-long controversy over same-sex marriage in the United States was finally resolved on June 26, 2015, when the U.S. Supreme Court handed down its decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, which held that the Fourteenth Amendment’s Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses required states to allow same-sex couples to marry on the same terms as opposite-sex couples.


Under our American system of government, divisive and often abiding disputes may be resolved either through legislation or judicial decisions.


In Same-Sex Marriage and American Constitutionalism, Murray Dry explains why the process by which Americans arrive at these resolutions can be as important as the substance of the resolutions themselves. By taking up the question of same-sex marriage, Dry excavates the bases of why and how Americans decide as we do (and as we have done when major questions arose in the past; think: school integration, abortion, gun control, and campaign finance).


As Professor Dry retraces the path that same-sex marriage took as it wended its way through the political (that is, the legislative) process and through the court system, he finds a vivid framework for the question, “Who should decide?” It’s a question often overlooked, but one that Dry believes should not be. He argues convincingly that it does matter whether the Supreme Court or the legislature makes the final decision—so that court-mandated law does not threaten democratic representative government, and so that legislation does not trample on fundamental constitutional rights.

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About the author

Murray Dry is the Charles A. Dana Professor of Political Science at Middlebury College. He is the author of Civil Peace and the Quest for Truth.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Paul Dry Books
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Published on
Dec 12, 2017
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Pages
192
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ISBN
9781589881020
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Language
English
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Genres
Law / Constitutional
Law / Gender & the Law
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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Revised and Expanded Edition

Wait—what's wrong with rights? It is usually assumed that trans and gender nonconforming people should follow the civil rights and "equality" strategies of lesbian and gay rights organizations by agitating for legal reforms that would ostensibly guarantee nondiscrimination and equal protection under the law. This approach assumes that the best way to address the poverty and criminalization that plague trans populations is to gain legal recognition and inclusion in the state's institutions. But is this strategy effective?

In Normal Life Dean Spade presents revelatory critiques of the legal equality framework for social change, and points to examples of transformative grassroots trans activism that is raising demands that go beyond traditional civil rights reforms. Spade explodes assumptions about what legal rights can do for marginalized populations, and describes transformative resistance processes and formations that address the root causes of harm and violence.

In the new afterword to this revised and expanded edition, Spade notes the rapid mainstreaming of trans politics and finds that his predictions that gaining legal recognition will fail to benefit trans populations are coming to fruition. Spade examines recent efforts by the Obama administration and trans equality advocates to "pinkwash" state violence by articulating the US military and prison systems as sites for trans inclusion reforms. In the context of recent increased mainstream visibility of trans people and trans politics, Spade continues to advocate for the dismantling of systems of state violence that shorten the lives of trans people. Now more than ever, Normal Life is an urgent call for justice and trans liberation, and the radical transformations it will require.
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