Why Marriage Matters: America, Equality, and Gay People's Right to Marry

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Why Marriage Matters offers a compelling and clear discussion of a question at the forefront of our national consciousness. It is the work of a brilliant civil rights litigator who has dedicated his life to the protection of individuals' rights and our Constitution's commitment to equal justice under the law. Above all, it is a thoughtful, straightforward book that brings into sharp focus the human significance of the right to marry in America -- not just for some couples, but for all.
Whatever your personal beliefs, we all can agree that marriage equality provokes both passion and tension, and looms large in our nation's politics. Marriage means many things to many people -- emotionally, spiritually, intellectually -- but in these pages, Evan Wolfson demonstrates a truth that is undeniable: Marriage is the legal gateway to a vast array of tangible and intangible protections, responsibilities, and benefits, most of which cannot be replicated in any other way.
Wolfson is a formidable legal thinker who has participated in landmark cases to end race discrimination in jury trials, to secure the rights of battered married women, and to challenge the abuse of power at the highest level in government. Now, with extraordinary clarity, fascinating stories, and legal and historical examples, he addresses the questions we as Americans are asking ourselves as we consider how marriage equality will affect our lives. Why is the word marriage so important? What are the stakes for America in this civil rights movement? How can people of different faiths reconcile their beliefs with the idea of marriage for same-sex couples? How will allowing gay couples to marry affect children? Here you will find thorough, honest answers -- some that may surprise you, some that will persuade you, many that will move you. Wolfson recalls the history of past battles over marriage and movements for equality, and articulates the everyday acts of discrimination that frame this current movement -- acts of discrimination that, if faced by non-gay Americans, would provoke a resounding cry of injustice.
Marriage matters because it is a foundation upon which most Americans build dreams. It is the cornerstone of commitment one individual makes to another -- a commitment we are taught is the highest expression of love, dedication, and responsibility. In this, the most powerful, authoritative, and fairly articulated book on the subject, Wolfson demonstrates why the right to marry is important -- indeed necessary -- for all couples and for America's promise of equality.
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About the author

Evan Wolfson is Executive Director of Freedom to Marry, the gay and non-gay partnership working to win marriage equality nationwide. Before founding Freedom to Marry, Wolfson served as marriage project director for Lambda Legal Defense & Education Fund, was co-counsel in the historic Hawaii marriage case, Baehr v. Miike, and participated in numerous gay rights and HIV/AIDS cases. Between his studies at Yale College and Harvard Law School, Wolfson spent two years with the Peace Corps in West Africa and then worked as a state prosecutor and special counsel in the Iran/Contra investigation. Citing his national leadership on marriage equality and his appearance before the U.S. Supreme Court in Boy Scouts of America v. James Dale, the National Law Journal in 2000 named Wolfson one of "the 100 most influential lawyers in America." In 2004, he was named one of the "Time 100," Time magazine's list of "The 100 most influential people in the world."

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Additional Information

Publisher
Simon and Schuster
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Published on
Nov 1, 2007
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Pages
256
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ISBN
9781416583226
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Language
English
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Genres
Law / Civil Rights
Law / Family Law / Marriage
Social Science / LGBT Studies / Gay Studies
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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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
“The encouraging story of American acceptance of gay marriage and the roles that politicians—gay and straight—have played in that history” (The Philadelphia Tribune).
 
Through speeches, interviews, and commentary, this book chronicles the road toward marriage equality in the United States, edited by former Vermont governor Madeleine Kunin and author and activist Jennifer Baumgardner.
 
“Baumgardner and Kunin have compiled the writings and public pronouncements of public officials and other figures on the issue of marriage equality . . . This book will serve as a resource for what was said about the struggle.” —New York Journal of Books
 
“Detail[s] the politicians out there who are good-hearted, decent and basically worth knowing about.” —Detroit Metro Times
 
“Compiles speeches, interviews and commentary from 1977 through 2013, in which an array of political leaders . . . voice their unconditional support for the queer citizens of the US in their quest for same-sex marriage rights.” —Bay Area Reporter
 
“Highlights the path politicians have taken from Harvey Milk of San Francisco in 1977 until now, to advance the cause of marriage equality.” —Sun News Miami
 
“Powerful . . . As Vermont’s governor, Madeleine Kunin was a leader on gay rights years before it was fashionable and years before our state became the first in the country to allow civil unions and, later, gay marriage without a court order. The struggle for gay rights in Vermont was very difficult, divisive, and acrimonious. If you talk to young people today about gay rights or gay marriage, they ask, What was the big deal? Madeleine and Jennifer Baumgardner remind us what a big deal it was and how important it is.” —Bernie Sanders
 
“The gay marriage movement, like all civil rights movements, began with individuals telling the truth about who they are to a world that doesn’t accept them. It ends with an entire generation of young people who reject blatant civil rights discrimination . . . We Do! triumphantly chronicles this recent chapter.” —New Pages
 
Included on the American Library Association’s Over the Rainbow Project Book List
"This clearly written, comprehensive, accessible guide belongs in the library of all gays and lesbians who are thinking of partnering or who are already partnered.... Learn about domestic arguments, managing joint income and protecting yourself and your significant other financially...buy and read this book."
-Martin Kantor, MD, author of My Guy and Together Forever

Legal rights for the GLBT community are expanding every year. Cities and states all over the country are passing new legislation that makes it easier than ever before to protect yourself and your relationships. Gay & Lesbian Rights details how you can take advantage of the latest legal advances.

- A brand-new section answers all your questions about the eight states that legally recognize same-sex partnerships.

- A convenient appendix features useful resources such as websites, organizations and hotlines for information and support-including support for GLBT teens.

- Tip boxes highlight how to find the information you need to live your life the way you want.

Gay & Lesbian Rights explains how to stand up for your rights, use the law to your advantage and get the results you need-even in not-so-GLBT-friendly environments.

Use Gay & Lesbian Rights to learn how to:
- formalize your relationship through a civil union or marriage
- register a domestic partnership
- defend yourself against discrimination
- encourage equality in the workplace
- combine finances and households
- obtain health insurance for your family
- adopt or conceive a child
- ensure a safe school environment for your children
- provide for your family with estate planning tools
- end a domestic partnership
- make a difference in your community
A Los Angeles Times Best Book of 2015: “A riveting account of a watershed moment in our history.”—President Bill Clinton

Renowned litigator Roberta Kaplan knew from the beginning that it was the perfect case to bring down the so-called Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Edie Windsor and Thea Spyer had been together as a couple, in sickness and in health, for more than forty years—enduring society’s homophobia as well as Spyer’s near total paralysis from multiple sclerosis. Although the couple was finally able to marry, when Spyer died the federal government refused to recognize their marriage, forcing Windsor to pay a huge estate tax bill.

In this gripping, definitive account of one of our nation’s most significant civil rights victories—named a Ms. Magazine Top 10 Feminist Book of 2015 and a National Law Journal Top 10 Supreme Court Aficionado Book of 2015—Kaplan describes meeting Windsor and their journey together to defeat DOMA. She shares the behind-the-scenes highs and lows, the excitement and the worries, and provides intriguing insights into her historic argument before the Supreme Court. A critical and previously untold part of the narrative is Kaplan’s own personal story, including her struggle for self-acceptance in order to create a loving family of her own.

Then Comes Marriage tells this quintessentially American story with honesty, humor, and heart. It is the momentous yet intimate account of a thrilling victory for equality under the law for all Americans, gay or straight.

The New York Times Bestseller

In May 2013, Glenn Greenwald set out for Hong Kong to meet an anonymous source who claimed to have astonishing evidence of pervasive government spying and insisted on communicating only through heavily encrypted channels. That source turned out to be the 29-year-old NSA contractor and whistleblower Edward Snowden, and his revelations about the agency's widespread, systemic overreach proved to be some of the most explosive and consequential news in recent history, triggering a fierce debate over national security and information privacy. As the arguments rage on and the government considers various proposals for reform, it is clear that we have yet to see the full impact of Snowden's disclosures.

Now for the first time, Greenwald fits all the pieces together, recounting his high-intensity ten-day trip to Hong Kong, examining the broader implications of the surveillance detailed in his reporting for The Guardian, and revealing fresh information on the NSA's unprecedented abuse of power with never-before-seen documents entrusted to him by Snowden himself.
Going beyond NSA specifics, Greenwald also takes on the establishment media, excoriating their habitual avoidance of adversarial reporting on the government and their failure to serve the interests of the people. Finally, he asks what it means both for individuals and for a nation's political health when a government pries so invasively into the private lives of its citizens—and considers what safeguards and forms of oversight are necessary to protect democracy in the digital age. Coming at a landmark moment in American history, No Place to Hide is a fearless, incisive, and essential contribution to our understanding of the U.S. surveillance state.

A groundbreaking look at marriage, one of the most basic and universal of all human institutions, which reveals the emotional, physical, economic, and sexual benefits that marriage brings to individuals and society as a whole.

The Case for Marriage is a critically important intervention in the national debate about the future of family. Based on the authoritative research of family sociologist Linda J. Waite, journalist Maggie Gallagher, and a number of other scholars, this book’s findings dramatically contradict the anti-marriage myths that have become the common sense of most Americans. Today a broad consensus holds that marriage is a bad deal for women, that divorce is better for children when parents are unhappy, and that marriage is essentially a private choice, not a public institution. Waite and Gallagher flatly contradict these assumptions, arguing instead that by a broad range of indices, marriage is actually better for you than being single or divorced– physically, materially, and spiritually. They contend that married people live longer, have better health, earn more money, accumulate more wealth, feel more fulfillment in their lives, enjoy more satisfying sexual relationships, and have happier and more successful children than those who remain single, cohabit, or get divorced.

The Case for Marriage combines clearheaded analysis, penetrating cultural criticism, and practical advice for strengthening the institution of marriage, and provides clear, essential guidelines for reestablishing marriage as the foundation for a healthy and happy society.

“A compelling defense of a sacred union. The Case for Marriage is well written and well argued, empirically rigorous and learned, practical and commonsensical.” -- William J. Bennett, author of The Book of Virtues

“Makes the absolutely critical point that marriage has been misrepresented and misunderstood.” -- The Wall Street Journal

www.broadwaybooks.com
The never-before-told full story of the history-changing break-in at the FBI office in Media, Pennsylvania, by a group of unlikely activists—quiet, ordinary, hardworking Americans—that made clear the shocking truth and confirmed what some had long suspected, that J. Edgar Hoover had created and was operating, in violation of the U.S. Constitution, his own shadow Bureau of Investigation.

It begins in 1971 in an America being split apart by the Vietnam War . . . A small group of activists—eight men and women—the Citizens Commission to Investigate the FBI, inspired by Daniel Berrigan’s rebellious Catholic peace movement, set out to use a more active, but nonviolent, method of civil disobedience to provide hard evidence once and for all that the government was operating outside the laws of the land.
           
The would-be burglars—nonpro’s—were ordinary people leading lives of purpose: a professor of religion and former freedom rider; a day-care director; a physicist; a cab driver; an antiwar activist, a lock picker; a graduate student haunted by members of her family lost to the Holocaust and the passivity of German civilians under Nazi rule.

Betty Medsger's extraordinary book re-creates in resonant detail how this group of unknowing thieves, in their meticulous planning of the burglary, scouted out the low-security FBI building in a small town just west of Philadelphia, taking into consideration every possible factor, and how they planned the break-in for the night of the long-anticipated boxing match between Joe Frazier (war supporter and friend to President Nixon) and Muhammad Ali (convicted for refusing to serve in the military), knowing that all would be fixated on their televisions and radios.

Medsger writes that the burglars removed all of the FBI files and, with the utmost deliberation, released them to various journalists and members of Congress, soon upending the public’s perception of the inviolate head of the Bureau and paving the way for the first overhaul of the FBI since Hoover became its director in 1924.  And we see how the release of the FBI files to the press set the stage for the sensational release three months later, by Daniel Ellsberg, of the top-secret, seven-thousand-page Pentagon study on U.S. decision-making regarding the Vietnam War, which became known as the Pentagon Papers.
           
At the heart of the heist—and the book—the contents of the FBI files revealing J. Edgar Hoover’s “secret counterintelligence program” COINTELPRO, set up in 1956 to investigate and disrupt dissident political groups in the United States in order “to enhance the paranoia endemic in these circles,” to make clear to all Americans that an FBI agent was “behind every mailbox,” a plan that would discredit, destabilize, and demoralize groups, many of them legal civil rights organizations and antiwar groups that Hoover found offensive—as well as black power groups, student activists, antidraft protestors, conscientious objectors.

The author, the first reporter to receive the FBI files, began to cover this story during the three years she worked for The Washington Post and continued her investigation long after she'd left the paper, figuring out who the burglars were, and convincing them, after decades of silence, to come forward and tell their extraordinary story. 

The Burglary is an important and riveting book, a portrait of the potential power of non­violent resistance and the destructive power of excessive government secrecy and spying.
A lyrical memoir that identifies the pressure to conform as a hidden threat to our civil rights, drawing on the author’s life as a gay Asian American man and his career as an acclaimed legal scholar.

“[Kenji] Yoshino offers his personal search for authenticity as an encouragement for everyone to think deeply about the ways in which all of us have covered our true selves. . . . We really do feel newly inspired.”—The New York Times Book Review

Everyone covers. To cover is to downplay a disfavored trait so as to blend into the mainstream. Because all of us possess stigmatized attributes, we all encounter pressure to cover in our daily lives. Racial minorities are pressed to “act white” by changing their names, languages, or cultural practices. Women are told to “play like men” at work. Gays are asked not to engage in public displays of same-sex affection. The devout are instructed to minimize expressions of faith, and individuals with disabilities are urged to conceal the paraphernalia that permit them to function. Given its pervasiveness, we may experience this pressure to be a simple fact of social life.

Against conventional understanding, Kenji Yoshino argues that the work of American civil rights law will not be complete until it attends to the harms of coerced conformity. Though we have come to some consensus against penalizing people for differences based on race, sex, sexual orientation, religion, and disability, we still routinely deny equal treatment to people who refuse to downplay differences along these lines. 

At the same time, Yoshino is responsive to the American exasperation with identity politics, which often seems like an endless parade of groups asking for state and social solicitude. He observes that the ubiquity of covering provides an opportunity to lift civil rights into a higher, more universal register. Since we all experience the covering demand, we can all make common cause around a new civil rights paradigm based on our desire for authenticity—a desire that brings us together rather than driving us apart.

Praise for Covering

“Yoshino argues convincingly in this book, part luminous, moving memoir, part cogent, level-headed treatise, that covering is going to become more and more a civil rights issue as the nation (and the nation’s courts) struggle with an increasingly multiethnic America.”—San Francisco Chronicle

“[A] remarkable debut . . . [Yoshino’s] sense of justice is pragmatic and infectious.”—Time Out New York
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