Monday, September 29, 2008

Washington bar supports same-sex marriage

I'd missed that our state bar came out in favor of same sex marriage -- until I saw this longish article: Washington bar supports same-sex marriage, Spokesman Review (AP), Sept. 29, 2008.

WSBA's press release (Sept. 22, 2008) is here.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Intersectionality: African Americans, Religion and Marriage Rights for the LCBT Community in California

Intersectionality analysis serves as a reminder of complexity in even the most seemingly straightforward issues. This is particularly the case among communities that share a sense of oppression or subordination but perhaps little else. It is also a complicating factor when the issue involves communities that share some of the characteristics of subordinated and some of the characteristics of subordinated communities. That appears to be the case with respect to same sex marriage in California. A recent New York Times article highlighted the tension within two politically progressive communities joined in the struggle against subordination but separated by a difference in understanding of what ought to be privileged and what not in the greater struggle. See Jesse McKinley, Same Sex Marriage Ban is Tied to Obama Factor, New York Times, September 21, 2008, at A-18.. But the issue is complicated. While the African American community appears to be partial to a particular perspective in California, some leaders of the African American community in Georgia have seen things differently. See Andrew Jacobs, Black Legislators Stall Marriage Amendment in Georgia, New York Times, March 3, 2004. The politics of inrtersecitonality will find a valuable laboratory in the coming weeks in California.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Dishonorable Passions - William N. Eskridge, Jr.

New in the Library:
Dishonorable Passions, by William N. Eskridge, Jr. (KF9328.S6 E84 2008 at Classified Stacks). The publisher's description:
From the Pentagon to the wedding chapel, there are few issues more controversial today than gay rights. As William Eskridge persuasively demonstrates in Dishonorable Passions, there is nothing new about this political and legal obsession. The American colonies and the early states prohibited sodomy as the “crime against nature,” but rarely punished such conduct if it took place behind closed doors. By the twentieth century, America’s emerging regulatory state targeted “degenerates” and (later) “homosexuals.” The witch hunts of the McCarthy era caught very few Communists but ruined the lives of thousands of homosexuals. The nation’s sexual revolution of the 1960s fueled a social movement of people seeking repeal of sodomy laws, but it was not until the Supreme Court’s decision in Lawrence v. Texas (2003) that private sex between consenting adults was decriminalized. With dramatic stories of both the hunted (Walt Whitman and Margaret Mead) and the hunters (Earl Warren and J. Edgar Hoover), Dishonorable Passions reveals how American sodomy laws affected the lives of both homosexual and heterosexual Americans. Certain to provoke heated debate, Dishonorable Passions is a must-read for anyone interested in the history of sexuality and its regulation in the United States.