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“The Peculiar Anomaly”: Same-Sex Infidelity in Postwar Divorce Courts

  • Alison Lefkovitz
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It was a simple tale of betrayal. In 1950, a Pennsylvania husband returned home from a business trip to find his wife—known to us today only by her initials CD—having sex with the female athletic director of a local school. This wife was only one of many women caught having sex with other women in the era following World War II. Although many closeted men and women enjoyed vibrant sexual and social lives in gay and lesbian communities, sometimes commanding officers, bosses, and police officers caught and punished men and women engaging in “deviant” sexual activity. Punishments ranged from arrests during a bar raid to a dismissal from a job. A double life in the public sphere was fragile. Scholars have paid less attention, however, to the insecure closeted lives of husbands and wives such as CD. Although certainly not all men and women who engaged in same-sex encounters entered traditional heterosexual marriages, many did. Their motivations for marrying ranged from the hope that marriage would cure same-sex desire to financial concerns. Sometimes, a husband or wife discovered his or her spouse's homosexual infidelity. A potential punitive outcome for this encounter was not an arrest, pink slip, or a dishonorable discharge; instead a spouse could end up in divorce court. Like the federal government, the military, the local police, and private employers, then, divorce courts also had to devise strategies and philosophies with which to deal with the problem of homosexuality.

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alison.lefkovitz@njit.edu
References
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1. AB v. CD, 74 Pa. D. & C. 83 (1950).

2. D'Emilio, John, Sexual Politics, Sexual Communities: The Making of a Homosexual Minority in the United States, 1940–1970 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1998); Bérubé, Allan, Coming Out Under Fire: The History of Gay Men and Women in World War Two (New York: Free Press, 1990); Faderman, Lillian, Odd Girls and Twilight Lovers: A History of Lesbian Life in Twentieth-Century America (New York: Columbia University Press, 1991); Meyer, Leisa D., “Creating G.I. Jane: The Regulation of Sexuality and Sexual Behavior in the Women's Army Corps,” Feminist Studies 18 (1992): 581602; Kennedy, Elizabeth Lapovsky and Davis, Madeline D., Boots of Leather, Slippers of Gold: The History of a Lesbian Community (New York: Routledge, 1993); Chauncey, George, Gay New York: Gender, Urban Culture, and the Makings of the Gay Male World, 1890–1940 (New York: Basic Books, 1994); Mumford, Kevin J, Interzones: Black/White Sex Districts in Chicago and New York in the Early Twentieth Century (New York: Columbia University Press, 1997); D'Emilio, John and Freedman, Estelle B., Intimate Matters: A History of Sexuality in America (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1997); Bailey, Beth L, Sex in the Heartland (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1999); Howard, John, Men Like That: A Southern Queer History (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1999); Boyd, Nan Alamilla, Wide Open Town: A History of Queer San Francisco to 1965 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2003); Johnson, David K., The Lavender Scare: The Cold War Persecution of Gays and Lesbians in the Federal Government (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2004); Canaday, Margot, The Straight State: Sexuality and Citizenship in Twentieth-Century America (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 2009); Shah, Nayan, Stranger Intimacy: Contesting Race, Sexuality, and Law in the North American West (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2012); and Hanhardt, Christina, Safe Space: Gay Neighborhood History and the Politics of Violence (Durham: Duke University Press, 2013).

3. The major exception to this is Lauren Gutterman's work. See, in particular, Gutterman, Lauren Jae, “‘The House on the Borderland’: Lesbian Desire, Marriage, and the Household,” Journal of Social History (2012): 122. Gutterman also chronicles allusions to depictions of married women who came out via the feminist movement in Faderman, Odd Girls and Twilight Lovers, 207–9; D'Emilio and Freedman, Intimate Matters, 316; Stein, Alrene, Sex and Sensibility: Stories of a Lesbian Generation (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1997), 40; and Rosen, Ruth, The World Split Open: How the Modern Women's Movement Changed America (New York: Penguin Books, 2000), 170–71. Daniel Rivers also necessarily deals with a related issue––one that often could and did result from the process I relate here. He recounts gay men and lesbians' relationships as parents. See Rivers, Daniel, Radical Relations: Lesbian Mothers, Gay Fathers and Their Children in the United States since World War II (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2013). Another related exception to this is studies that show that many young men and lesbians were forced out of their homes as daughters and sons once their homosexuality was discovered. For more on gay men, lesbians, and the families they were born into, see Murray, Heather, Not in This Family: Gays and the Meaning of Kinship in Postwar North America (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2010).

4. Gutterman, “The House on the Borderland,” and Rivera, Rhonda R., “Our Straight-Laced Judges: The Legal Position of Homosexual Persons in the United States,” Hastings Law Journal 50 (1999): 1179–98.

5. There was seemingly more variation at the lower court level, which I will allude to in sections 2 and 3.

6. Sedgwick, Eve Kosofsky, “Axiomatic,” in Epistemology of the Closet (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2008), 47.

7. Notably, the federal state had only recently used the GI Bill to create a closet for gay men to enter. Canaday has shown that the invisibility of gay soldiers was critical because “it drove deeper the wedge separating homosexuality and citizenship by enabling military and VA officials to pretend that homosexual soldiers had not defended their country, and that they could not meet the obligations of good citizens” in Canaday, Straight State, 170.

8. For examples of containing women, see, for example, Gordon, Linda, Pitied but Not Entitled: Single Mothers and the History of Welfare, 1890–1935 (New York: Free Press, 1994); May, Elaine Tyler, Homeward Bound: American Families in the Cold War Era (New York: Basic Books, 2008); Cott, Nancy, Public Vows: A History of Marriage and the Nation (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2002); and Belmonte, Laura A., Selling the American Way: U.S. Propaganda and the Cold War (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2010).

9. See for example, Ehrenreich, Barbara, The Hearts of Men: American Dreams and the Flight from Commitment (Garden City, NY: Anchor Press/Doubleday, 1983); Gilbert, James, A Cycle of Outrage: America's Reaction to the Juvenile Delinquent in the 1950s (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988); and Friedman, Andrea, “Sadists and Sissies: Anti-Pornography Campaigns in Cold War America,” Gender & History 15 (2005): 201–27.

10. See, for example, Gordon, Pitied but Not Entitled; May, Homeward Bound; Cott, Public Vows; Belmonte, Selling the American Way.

11. See for example, Canaday, Straight State; Cott, Public Vows; Kessler–Harris, Alice, In Pursuit of Equity: Women, Men, and the Quest for Economic Citizenship in 20th-Century America (New York: Oxford University Press, 2001); and MacLean, Nancy, “Postwar Women's History: The ‘Second Wave’ or the End of the Family Wage?” in A Companion to Post-1945 America, eds., Agnew, Jean-Christophe and Rosenzweig, Roy (Malden, MA: Blackwell Pub, 2006), 235–59.

12. Canaday, Straight State, 15, 142. See also Canaday, Margot, “Heterosexuality as a Legal Regime,” in The Cambridge History of Law in America, eds. Grossberg, Michael and Tomlins, Christopher (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2008), 459.

13. Ehrenreich, Hearts of Men.

14. Canaday, Straight State, 143. Gordon, Pitied but Not Entitled; Willrich, Michael, “Home Slackers: Men, the State, and Welfare in Modern America,” The Journal of American History 87 (2000): 460–89; Willrich, Michael, City of Courts: Socializing Justice in Progressive Era Chicago (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003); and Ryan, Erica, Red War on the Family: Sex, Gender, and Americanism in the First Red Scare (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2014). Similar fears about men's failures had inspired policymakers to enforce men's obligations toward their families after World War I and during the Depression as well.

15. Kinsey, Alfred C., Pomeroy, Wardell B., and Martin, Clyde E., Sexual Behavior in the Human Male (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1998), 285.

16. Ibid., 289.

17. Ibid.

18. Kinsey, Alfred C., Pomeroy, Wardell B., and Martin, Clyde E., Sexual Behavior in the Human Female (Philadelphia: Saunders, 1953), 453.

19. Cory, Donald Webster, The Homosexual in America; a Subjective Approach (New York: Greenberg, 1951), 200201.

20. Henry had no doubt that he should identify these men and women as gay or lesbian; therefore, in this section, I am reproducing his language rather than his subjects' self-identification.

21. Henry, George W., Masculinity and Femininity (New York: Collier Books, 1966), 100103. The book was originally published as Henry, George W., All the Sexes; a Study of Masculinity and Femininity (Toronto: Rinehart, 1955).

22. Marcel Martin, “A Matter of Language,” ONE, November 1961, 7.

23. Historians have laid out many of these reasons in other contexts. Most states reserved sexual intercourse as a privilege for married couples. Any other sort of sex––even that between straight couples––still posed a legal and social burden to the couple and to any potential offspring. Polikoff, Nancy D, Beyond Straight and Gay Marriage: Valuing All Families Under the Law (Boston: Beacon Press, 2008). Marriage also gave its participants respectability. The state distributed many of its most precious entitlements, such as Social Security, military allotments, citizenship status, and tax incentives more generously to married couples. Gordon, Pitied but Not Entitled; Kessler-Harris, In Pursuit of Equity; and Canaday, Straight State. The private sector offered its own set of entitlements to married couples, including pensions and life and health insurance. Katz, Michael, The Price of Citizenship: Redefining the American Welfare State (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2008), 171–94 and 257–92; Klein, Jennifer, For All These Rights: Business, Labor, and the Shaping of America's Public–Private Welfare State (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2003), 204–57; and Chauncey, George, Why Marriage: The History Shaping Today's Debate over Gay Equality (Cambridge, MA: Basic Books, 2004), 5986. Men and women alike profited from the benefits spouses offered each other, including household labor for husbands and financial support for wives. And choosing an openly homosexual lifestyle subjected citizens to a host of punishments; therefore, marriage also offered freedom from punitive action. Most obviously to critics at the time, single adults immediately caught the attention of government bodies seeking to identify gay men and lesbians. The easiest way to enter the closet, to avoid the scorn of postwar society, was to marry. This was particularly true when significant benefits such as the GI Bill or veterans' employment benefits were at stake. At least at the beginning of the postwar period, if the state suspected a soldier of homosexuality, marrying was one way he or she could try to change the administrative state's mind. Canaday, The Straight State, 174–213.

24. Cory, Homosexual in America, 201.

25. Ibid., 202.

26. Jackson, Charles, The Fall of Valor (New York: Rinehart & Co., 1946).

27. Williams, Tennessee, A Streetcar Named Desire (New York: New Directions, 1947).

28. Drury, Allen, Advise and Consent (Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1959). Advise and Consent, directed by Otto Preminger (1962; Burbank, CA: Warner Home Video, 2005), DVD.

29. Stern, Jill, Not in Our Stars (New York: David McKay Company, Inc., 1957).

30. Ibid., 146.

31. “The Homosexual in America,” Time, January 21, 1966, 52–56.

32. Vidal, Gore, The City and the Pillar (New York: E.P. Dutton, 1948).

33. Enid Nemy, “The Woman Homosexual: More Assertive, Less Willing to Hide,” New York Times (hereafter NYT), November 17, 1969, 62.

34. Ibid.

35. Ibid.

36. Ibid.

37. Ibid.

38. Henry, Masculinity and Femininity, 293.

39. Ibid., 258–59.

40. Ibid., 301, 304.

41. Ibid., 295.

42. As of January 1965, just a few years before California passed no-fault divorce, Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming all included nonsupport by husbands as one of the grounds for absolute divorce. United States, American Women: The Report of the President's Commission on the Status of Women and Other Publications of the Commission (New York: Scribner, 1965).

43. Eileen C. Steggall v. Joseph E. Steggall, January 16, 1975, Judgment for Divorce, 74 D 12626, Archives Department, Clerk of the Circuit Court Records and Archives, Cook County, Illinois (hereafter CCCRA), Chicago, IL.

44. Anna Sanders v. Earving Sanders, May 25, 1964, Complaint for Divorce, 63 S 10814, CCCRA.

45. Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Connecticut, DC, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Vermont, Wisconsin, and Wyoming allowed alimony only for wives. Levy, Robert J., Uniform Marriage and Divorce Legislation: A Preliminary Analysis (National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws, 1968), 135.

46. “Transfer of the Separate Property of One Spouse to Another in Lieu of or In Addition to Permanent Alimony 1,” A Survey Prepared for the New York County Lawyers Association, Special Committee on Matrimonial Law (mimeo. 1966). Quoted in Levy, Uniform Marriage and Divorce, 135.

47. Lorraine Kowalski v. Stephen Kowalski, April 30, 1946, Case 46S 6864, Box 3a-15-c-33, CCCRA.

48. Elaine Markoutsas, “‘Good Old Days’ of Alimony Row Fade,” Chicago Tribune (June 6, 1976), 28.

49. Although women held the vast responsibility for housework no matter what their class status, many wives worked outside the home. Although these wives often performed all the homemaking tasks, their status as homemakers was suspect in culture and in courts. Therefore, the status of homemaker was reserved for only more elite women. In particular, public policy had historically discouraged black women from being homemakers. The enforcement of wives’ homemaking duties was informal and inconsistent across race and class. Similarly, not all men had to live up to their breadwinning duties. Wealthy white women could access this ground more easily than the wife of a laborer, black or white, who had to resort to cruelty or desertion grounds.

50. Henry, Masculinity and Femininity, 247.

51. Ibid., 240, 238, 247.

52. Ibid., 280.

53. Ibid., 284.

54. Ibid., 299.

55. Ibid., 288.

56. Medical researchers and homophile journalists had little faith in the efficacy of marriage. Although sex researcher Cory felt cautiously optimistic that such marriages could produce bonds commensurate with those of any other marriage if homosexuals did not fully abstain from gay sex, most experts disagreed. Cory, Homosexual in America, 200, 218–19. Henry reported that his patients faced unconsummated marriages, impotency, continued homosexual relations, quarrels over transvestitism, and promiscuity with both sexes. Of the total number of marriages in Henry's study, three fourths had ended in separation, divorce, or annulment, which made Henry skeptical of anyone with same-sex desire marrying. Henry, Masculinity and Femininity, 13–16, 100–103. In a 1962 edition of ONE, journalist Paul Britton asked his readers if they had ever met a homosexual who had managed to get married. He explained “if you have, I'm sure I don't have to tell you here you have the true sick homosexual––and for real! Especially if this happens to be the falling in love bit for him. The anguish and the soul tearing that now ensues is something to behold.” Paul Britton, “Should a Homosexual be Advised to Marry?” ONE, September 1962), 18. Another ONE columnist argued 4 years later that marriage led at best to nervous breakdowns. Didgeon, “Reflexions on Love and Marriage,” ONE, July 1966, 10.

57. These cases were difficult to find, and I used a few different methods to discover them. First, some were mentioned in Rivera's important article. Rivera, “Our Straight-Laced Judges,” 1179–98. Second, I found the vast majority of the rest of these cases by searching for appealed divorces that used the terms homosexual and its variants, lesbian, gay, pederasty, and sodomy. Third, I found some because other cases cited them or were cited by them. I excluded two cases that did not fit the framework of the article, including the 1982 Louisiana case Alphonso v. Alphonso because it takes place in 1982, long after most states have switched over to a no-fault model. Alphonso v. Alphonso, 422 So. 2d 210 (1982). The other, Steinke v. Steinke, involves a spouse who was transsexual, which suggests an even more complicated set of evaluations than the one I lay out here. Steinke v. Steinke, 238 Pa. Super. 74; 357 A.2d 674; (1975). Only appellate cases are included here.

58. DiFonzo, J. Herbie, Beneath the Fault Line: The Popular and Legal Culture of Divorce in Twentieth-Century America (Charlottesville: The University Press of Virginia, 1997), 55.

59. Riley, Glenda, Divorce: An American Tradition (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1997), 15.

60. Ibid., 13–14. See also May, Elaine Tyler, Great Expectations: Marriage and Divorce in Post–Victorian America (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1980); Basch, Norma, In the Eyes of the Law: Women, Marriage, and Property in Nineteenth-Century New York (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1982); Grossberg, Michael, Governing the Hearth: Law and the Family in Nineteenth-Century America (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1985); Kerber, Linda, Women of the Republic: Intellect and Ideology in Revolutionary America (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1997); Basch, Norma, Framing American Divorce: From the Revolutionary Generation to the Victorians (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1999); Hartog, Hendrik, Man and Wife in America: A History (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2000).

61. For loss of custody because of adultery in the nineteenth century, see Basch, Framing American Divorce, 133–40.

62. For loss of custody and alimony because of adultery in the twentieth century, see May, Great Expectations, 150–55, 160.

63. Ibid.

64. DiFonzo, Beneath the Fault Line, 81.

65. Ibid., 45–46.

66. As of 1968, California, Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Missouri, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, South Carolina, South Dakota, and Tennessee all barred alimony if a wife had committed adultery. Alabama, the District of Columbia, Idaho, Oklahoma, North Carolina, West Virginia all allowed it at the court's discretion. Georgia, Kentucky, New Mexico, and Oregon sometimes allowed courts to bar alimony in cases of adultery. Levy, Robert J., Uniform Marriage and Divorce Legislation: A Preliminary Analysis (Chicago: Special Committee on Divorce of the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws, 1968?), B–21.

67. AB v. CD, 74 Pa. D. & C. 83 (1950).

68. H v. H., 59 N.J. Super. 227 at 231; 157 A.2d 721 at 723 (1959).

69. Benkowski v. Benkowski, 203 Pa. Super. 347; 201 A.2d 444 (1964).

70. Gilmore v. Gilmore, 45 Cal. 2d 142; 287 P.2d 769 (1955). For states that retained fault divorce provisions, this pattern extended past the end of my study. In the 1978 Adams v. Adams case in Louisiana, the court ruled that Errol Adams’ wife was undisputedly in a homosexual relationship despite her denial. She had initially sued her husband for divorce on the grounds of abandonment, and he countersued with an allegation of homosexuality. She denied it, but the court ruled “there were several incidents, which need not be detailed, each of which could be said to be so convincing that any other reasonable hypothesis but that the alleged act was committed must be excluded. In addition, there was a tape and letters from the co-respondent to the wife which tend to corroborate the lesbian relationship.” Emphasis added. Errol also won on the basis of cruelty. Adams v. Adams, 357 So. 2d 881 (1978). For an exception to this trend of assuming homosexual accusations of women, see Feuti v. Feuti, 92 R.I. 219; 167 A.2d 757 (1961). In this case, the husband tried to allege that a witness for his wife was a lesbian, which the court disagreed with.

71. For the treatment of wives in divorce courts compared with the treatment of husbands, see Jacob, Herbert, Silent Revolution: The Transformation of Divorce Law in the United States (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1988), particularly 113–14; and DiFonzo, Beneath the Fault Line.

72. For the comparative fear of gay men and lesbians in the postwar period, see, for example, Chauncey, George, “The Postwar Sex Crime Panic,” in True Stories of the American Past, ed., Graebner, William (New York: McGraw Hill, 1993); Johnson, Lavender Scare; Canaday, Straight State.

73. Poler v. Poler, 32 Wash. 400; 73 P. 372; (1903).

74. Crutcher v. Crutcher, 86 Miss. 231 at 235; 38 So. 337 (1905).

75. See Rivera, “Our Straight-Laced Judges,” 1099. See also Currie v. Currie, 120 Fla. 28; 162 So. 152 (1935).

76. Pearce, William W. with Hoffer, William, Caught in the Act: The True Adventures of a Divorce Detective (New York: Stein and Day, 1976), 147–48.

77. See also Pearson v. Pearson, 154 Pa. Super. 255; 35 A.2d 524 (1944); and Smith v. Smith, 206 Pa. Super. 310; 213 A.2d 94; (1965).

78. Testimony from Chicago Officers, Bernard Wolfe, Edward D. Rosenberg, and Mrs. Jewel LaFontant, Dr. Marvin Ziporyn, psychiatrist on February 7, 1969, folder Public Hearing Family Study Commission, box 2, Bernard Wolfe Papers (hereafter BWP), Manuscripts Division, Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library, Springfield, IL.

79. Judge Harry G. Hershenson, Remarks and Comments by Members of the Judiciary of the Circuit Court of Cook County, IL before the Members of the Committee on the Study of Divorce Laws of the Family Study Commission on Marriage, Divorce, Parental Responsibility of the State of Illinois, May 24, 1968 in Chicago, pages 10–11, folder Divorce Laws––Remarks, box 1, BWP.

80. Barber v. Barber, 156 Pa. Super. 241 at 243; 40 A.2d 120 at 124 (1944).

81. Barber v. Barber, 244; 124.

82. Vishnevsky v. Vishnevsky, 11 Wis. 2d 259 at 265; 105 N.W.2d 314 at 317 (1960).

83. Ibid.

84. Vishnevsky v. Vishnevsky, 268; 319.

85. Liccini v. Liccini, 255 Md. 462; 258 A.2d 198 (1969).

86. De Burgh v. De Burgh, 39 Cal. 2d 858; 250 P.2d 598 (1952).

87. Rivera, “Our Straight-Laced Judges,” 1098.

88. Luley v. Luley, 234 Minn. 324 at 325; 48 N.W.2d 328 at 329 (1951).

89. Ibid.

90. Luley v. Luley, 327; 330.

91. Bérubé, Coming Out Under Fire; Canaday, Straight State; and Johnson, Lavender Scare.

92. For example, the United States Court of Military Appeals (USCMA) ruled that testimony about the homosexual encounters that a defendant had had between the ages of 12 and 14 was admissible during his appeal of a conviction of assault with intent to commit sodomy. US v. Kindler, 14 USCMA 394 (1964). The military seemingly only made exceptions during, for example, manpower shortages. Bérubé shows that beginning in 1942, the military made several exceptions to its own rules. Bérubé, Coming Out Under Fire, 179–91.

93. Luley v. Luley, 327; 330.

94. Among others, Alfred Kinsey, Cleland Ford, Frank Beach, Evelyn Hooker, Thomas Szasz, and Judd Marmor had already begun challenging medical orthodoxy that labeled homosexual men and women as ill and in need of treatment. Bayer, Ronald, Homosexuality and American Psychiatry: The Politics of Diagnosis (New York: Basic Books, 1981), 4166. Such orthodoxies persisted in the court system until much later, even past the point that the American Psychiatric Association (APA) had definitively removed homosexuality from their diagnostic manual in the case of immigration. See Canaday, The Straight State, 214–54. Berryman v. Oklahoma and U.S. v. Kindler, for example, cited Kinsey in 1955 and 1964 to condemn criminal fellatio and an attempt at sodomy in an assault, respectively; both cases only used Kinsey's numbers to argue that the increasing frequency of homosexual activity posed a serious threat to American morality. In these cases, moreover, George Henry and Morris Ploscowe were cited more definitively than Kinsey. See Berryman v. State of Oklahoma, 283 P.2d 558 (1955) and; U.S. v. Kindler, 14 USCMA 394 (1964). See also H v. H, 59 N.J. Super. 227; 157 A.2d 721 (1959). Ploscowe also appears as a character in the miscegenation story. See Pascoe, Peggy, What Comes Naturally: Miscegenation Law and the Making of Race in America (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009). It was only later in cases such as Boutlier v. INS (1967), Harris v. Alaska (1969), Morrison v. State Board of Education (1969), and Norton v. Macy (1969) that Kinsey was even cited as defending homosexuality, whether the court affirmed that interpretation in its ruling or not. For cases in which Kinsey was cited to defend unconventional but heterosexual activity, see, for example, Carter v. US, 407 F.2d 1238; 132 U.S. App. D.C. 303 (1968), Dixon v. Indiana, 256 Ind. 266; 268 N.E.2d 84 (1971), Hawaii v. Silva, 53 Haw. 232; 491 P.2d 1216 (1971), and Pettit v. Board of Education, 10 Cal. 3d 29; 513 P.2d 889; 109 Cal. Rptr. 665 (1973).

95. It is possible Dorothy Luley lost custody of their child because of this, although I can find no confirmation of it. Given the preference for women to retain custody during this era, I suspect this was not the case.

96. Cohen v. Cohen, 103 N.Y.S.2d 426 at 427 (1951).

97. Ibid.

98. Cohen v. Cohen, 428.

99. For more on how difficult it was to win a divorce in New York, and also the ways in which they were nonetheless accessible to many, see Wels, Richard H., “New York: The Poor Man's Reno,” Cornell Law Quarterly 35 (1950): 303–26.

100. Freitag v. Freitag, 40 Misc. 2d 163; 242 N.Y.S.2d 643 (1963).

101. Ibid.

102. 163; Freitag v. Freitag, 644.

103. Ibid.

104. Richardson v. Richardson, 17 Md. App. 665 at 674; 304 A.2d 1 at 7 (1973).

105. Richardson v. Richardson, 675; 7.

106. Richardson v. Richardson, 676; 8.

107. The couple was referred to only as Crissman and Crissman.

108. Crissman v. Crissman, 220 Pa. Super. 387 at 389; 281 A.2d 719 at 721 (1971).

109. See also Krause v. Krause, 27 Pa. D. & C.2d 322 (1961), Sophian vs. Von Linde, 22 A.D.2d 34; 253 N.Y.S.2d 496 (1964); and Crissman v. Crissman, 220 Pa. Super. 387; 281 A.2d 719 (1971).

110. Emphasis added. Pearce with Hoffer, Caught in the Act, 147–48.

111. Ehrenreich, Hearts of Men.

112. Senator Wilson, Jerome L., Chairman, Murphy, Lawrence P., Hughes, John H., Thompson, William C., Sutton, Percy E., Marshall, L. Richard, Goldin, Harrison J., and Tully, James H. Jr., 1966 Report of the Joint Legislative Committee on Matrimonial and Family Laws to the Legislature of the State of New York, March 31, 1966 (Albany: The Committee, 1966). For an account of this committee's work on abortion law, see Stacie Taranto, “Defending ‘Family Values’: Women's Grassroots Politics and the Republican Right, 1970–1980” (PhD diss., Brown University, 2010).

113. Wilson, et al. 1966 Report of the Joint Legislative Committee on Matrimonial and Family Laws to the Legislature of the State of New York, v.

114. Ibid., 32.

115. Ibid.

116. Ibid., 33.

117. Ibid.

118. Ibid., 174–75.

119. Ibid.

120. Eric Pace, “Panel on Divorce Weights 6 Reforms: ‘Consent’ Action Expected to Be Among Proposals to the Legislature,” NYT, December 3, 1965, 1. Natalie Jaffe, “Divorce Reform Believed Gaining: Expected to Be Debated in Albany for the First Time,” NYT, December 29, 1965, 1.

121. Sydney H. Schanberg, “Catholic Church Bids Legislature Delay on Divorce,” NYT, February 2, 1966, 1. Sydney H. Schanberg, “Bill on Divorce Being Amended: Sponsors in Albany Seek to Assure Vote for Reform,” NYT, March 8, 1966, 28.

122. Foster, Henry H. Jr., and Freed, Doris Jonas, The Divorce Reform Law; An Analysis (Rochester, NY: The Lawyers Co-operative Publishing Company, 1970).

123. Sydney H. Schanberg, “Divorce Reforms, First in 179 Years, Enacted by State: Groups Widened,” NYT, April 28, 1966, 1. For more on this law and its effects, see Riley, Divorce, 157.

124. Robert E. Tomasson, “New Divorce Law Becomes Effective in the State Today: Divorce-Reform,” NYT, September 1, 1967, 40. The next year, Canada also expanded its fault divorce laws to include grounds of sodomy, bestiality, rape, homosexuality, physical and mental cruelty, and marriage breakdown. The law went into effect July 2, 1968. George Bain, “Trudeau on Morality,” NYT, July 21, 1968, SM59.

125. Enid Nemy, “The Woman Homosexual,” 62.

126. See, in particular, DiFonzo, Beneath the Fault Line.

127. Joseph Epstein, “Divorce: Part Two,” Chicago Tribune, November 12, 1972, 46, 48.

128. Although it certainly did not eliminate the practice or the fear of being discovered. See for example, Nahas, Rebecca and Turley, Myra, The New Couple: Women and Gay Men (New York: Seaview Books, 1978); W.S. Standeford, “The Bonds and Bondage of Wedlock: Gay Men in Straight Marriages,” The Advocate August 23, 1978, 12; Name Withheld from Seattle, WA “Excellent ‘Bonds,’” The Advocate, October 4, 1978, 22; “Opening Space,” The Advocate, April 16, 1981, 6; P. Gregory Springer, “Alternative Lifestyles: Choosing to Marry,” The Advocate, April 30, 1981, 21; and Thom Willenbecher, “The Trauma of Transition: How Gay Men in Straight Marriages Face Divorce,” The Advocate, February 8, 1979, 14. Willenbecher notes that “Since many gay men seeking a divorce are professional people who have a lot to lose if their sexual preference becomes public knowledge via the court system, this too…puts the man at an enormous disadvantage in the negotiation process and may cause the man to allow the settlement to tilt in favor of his wife. Peter [M.] describes the process as ‘a bit short of legalized blackmail.’” Thom Willenbecher, “A Look at the Legalities,” The Advocate, February 22, 1979, 44. For the changes introduced by gay liberation, see D'Emilio and Freedman, Intimate Matters.

129. Ehrenreich, Hearts of Men.

130. For more on dismantling the breadwinner–homemaker model, see Alison Lefkovitz, “The Problem of Marriage in the Era of Women's Liberation” (PhD diss., University of Chicago, 2010).

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Law and History Review
  • ISSN: 0738-2480
  • EISSN: 1939-9022
  • URL: /core/journals/law-and-history-review
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