1st Edition

The Future of Gay Rights in America

By H. N. Hirsch Copyright 2006

    Sandra Day O'Connor has called the gay rights movement "the first important civil rights struggle of the twenty-first century." Recent court decisions to overturn sodomy laws and to recognize gay marriage have emboldened activists, but have also resulted in a tremendous backlash, not the least of which has been a call for a constitutional amendment defining marriage as only between members of the opposite sex. Through its historical and legal contextualization of these decisions The Future of Gay Rights in America is essential for understanding an epochal moment in the history of gay rights.


    Part 1: Context

    1. Some Lessons from Lawrence,

    John D'Emilio

    2. Questions of Tolerance and Fairness,

    David O. Erdos

    3. Same-Sex Marriage, Civil Unions, and the 2004 Presidential Vote,

    Kenneth Sherrill

    4. The Symbolic Centrality of Gay Marriage in the 2004 Presidential Election,

    Sean Cahill

    5. The Anti-Gay Backlash?

    Ethel D. Klein

    Part 2: Decision

    6. Some Thoughts on Institutional Life and "The Rest of the Closet"

    John Brigham

    7. The Unknown Past of Lawrence v Texas,

    Dale Carpenter

    8. The Rule of Lawrence,

    Andrew Koppelman

    9. Lawrence, Privacy, and the Marital Bedroom: A Few Telltale Signs of Worry,

    Joe Rollins

    10. The Continuing Triumph of Neo-Conservatism in American Constitutional Law,

    Anna Marie Smith

    11. Sexuality, Marriage, and Relationships: The Radical Potential of Lawrence,

    Jo Ann Citron and Mary Lyndon Shanley

    12. Why Lawrence Was Not Expected: A Critique of Pragmatic Legalist and Behavioral Explanations of Supreme Court Decision-making,

    Ronald Kahn

    13. To What Extent Should We Be Looking Abroad for Guidance in Interpreting the United States Constitution?

    Sanford Levinson

    Part 3: The Future

    14. Liberal With a Twist: Queering Marriage,

    H.N. Hirsch

    15. The Polite Thing To Do,

    Keith J. Bybee


    H.N. Hirsch is Mitau Distinguished Professor of Political Science at Macalester College and Adjunct Professor of Political Science and American Studies at the University of Minnesota. He is the author of The Enigma of Felix Frankfurter and A Theory of Liberty: The Constitution and Minorities.