America's Struggle for Same-Sex Marriage chronicles the evolution of the social movement for same-sex marriage in the United States and examines the political controversies surrounding gay people's quest for access to the civil institution of marriage. The book focuses on the momentous events that began in November 2003, when the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court declared unequivocally that the state's conferral of marriage only on opposite-sex couples violated constitutional principles of respect for individual autonomy and equality under law. The decision both triggered a political backlash of national proportion and prompted officials in San Francisco, Multnomah County (OR), Sandoval County (NM), and New Paltz (NY) to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. The volume relies on in-depth interviews to provide an insider account of how courts, politicians, and activists maneuver and deal with a cutting-edge social policy issue, as well as real-life narratives about everyday people whom the debate immediately affects.
1. Introduction; 2. Overview and background; 3. Massachusetts; 4. California; 5. Oregon; 6. New York; 7. Conclusion.
"The United States is in the midst of an extraordinary but little-understood social revolution: the struggle to win legal recognition of same-sex marriages. Amidst a storm of passionate rhetoric, for and against, Daniel Pinello's book compiles fascinating stories of real people who are being swept up in these struggles--including county clerks, state judges and legislators, activists and, most of all, gay and lesbian couples hoping to win new standing in the eyes of their fellow citizens and American law. A lawyer and political scientist, Pinello provides keen insight into the still-emerging legal and political issues. But he keeps his focus on the human beings for whom this issue matters so much. A truly illuminating book." --Rogers M. Smith, University of Pennsylvania
"In America's Struggle for Same-Sex Marriage, Dan Pinello brings the issue to life by showing us the people behind the headlines and the way that the issue affected public officials, couples who were allowed to dream of marriage for at least a season, and churches that mobilized to defend their idea of marriage. This is a book full of drama, but it is also full of useful detail on the workings of state and local governments as they grapple with moral policy. The universe of highly-readable books with serious pedagogical value is quite small. This is a book that I will assign to undergraduate students with confidence that they will read for both enjoyment and education." -Clyde Wilcox, Georgetown University
"Dan Pinello has written a book that is engaging, easy to read, and appropriate for a variety of different undergraduate classes. It would be a useful text for upper-level courses on judicial or interest group politics, but also for introductory American politics classes, because the book can prompt discussions about so many different facets of American politics in addition to its obvious utility as a primer on a major civil rights issue. … And as a bonus, the book serves as a corrective to the notion that individuals have little power in the political system. In this book, individual actors make a very big difference and the stories they tell will resonate with even the most jaded student."
Ellen Ann Andersen, Law and Politics Book Review