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Queer Mobilizations

Queer Mobilizations: LGBT Activists Confront the Law

Scott Barclay
Mary Bernstein
Anna-Maria Marshall
Copyright Date: 2009
Published by: NYU Press
Pages: 384
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  • Book Info
    Queer Mobilizations
    Book Description:

    Fighting for marriage and family rights; protection from discrimination in employment, education, and housing; criminal law reform; economic justice; and health care reform: the LGBT movement is engaged in some of the most important cultural and political battles of our times. Seeking to reshape many of our basic social institutions, the LBGT movement's legal, political, and cultural campaigns reflect the complex visions, strategies, and rhetoric of the individuals and groups knocking at the law's door.The original essays in this volume bring social movement scholarship and legal analysis together, enriching our understanding of social movements, LGBT politics and organizing, legal studies, and public policy. Moreover, they highlight the struggle to make the law relevant and responsive to the LGBT community. Ultimately, Queer Mobilizations examines how the LGBT movement's engagement with the law shapes the very meanings of sexuality, sex, gender, privacy, discrimination, and family in law and society.Contributors: Ellen Ann Andersen, Steven A. Boutcher, Bayliss Camp, Casey Charles, Ashley Currier, Courtenay W. Daum, Shauna Fisher, David John Frank, Jonathan Goldberg-Hiller, Charles W. Gossett, Marybeth Herald, Nicholas Pedriana, Darren Rosenblum, Susan M. Sterett, and Amy L. Stone.

    eISBN: 978-0-8147-3903-7
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. 1 The Challenge of Law: Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, and Social Movements
    (pp. 1-18)
    Mary Bernstein, Anna-Maria Marshall and Scott Barclay

    THIS VOLUME EXAMINES the strategic ways in which the LGBT movement interacts with the law and the way those struggles, in turn, shape legal rules, public discourse, and the movement itself.¹ Through an in-depth study of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender movement, we examine empirically the relationships among social movements, social change, and the law. Many of the most important issues for the LGBT movement are represented in these pages, including struggles for same-sex marriage and family rights, for protection from discrimination in employment, education, and housing, and for criminal law reform. These chapters address three main themes: the...

  5. PART I Social Movement Strategies and the Law

    • 2 Deferral of Legal Tactics: A Global LGBT Social Movement Organization’s Perspective
      (pp. 21-37)
      Ashley Currier

      WHILE MANY LESBIAN, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) movements around the world employ legal tactics (Adam et al. 1999), for some LGBT movements in the global South, state repression, scarce resources, and diverse constituencies with complex needs can restrict and complicate their tactical repertoires, making legal tactics unimaginable or temporarily not viable.¹ Tactical choices that may be logical for LGBT social movement organizations in older democracies may not be so simple for LGBT social movement organizations in younger democracies in which the state is openly hostile to LGBT rights and organizing. How do LGBT social movement organizations come to regard...

    • 3 Queer Legal Victories: Intersectionality Revisited
      (pp. 38-51)
      Darren Rosenblum

      IN MY 1995 article “Queer Intersectionality and the Failure of Lesbian and Gay ‘Victories,’” I merged queer and intersectionality theories to critique four lesbian and gay legal “victories.”¹ I argued that queer identity intersected with other identity characteristics, yielding queer communities whose diverse needs reflect their various class, race, gender, and sex identifications. This intersectional perspective led me to view these decisions as victories for only a privileged subset of queer communities that, “but for” their gay or lesbian identity, conform to the “American dream” (De Lauretis 1991; Robson 1992).² The United States’ juridical heterosexism stifled the progressive potential of...

    • 4 Intimate Equality: The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Movement’s Legal Framing of Sodomy Laws in the Lawrence v. Texas Case
      (pp. 52-75)
      Nicholas Pedriana

      IN 2003, THE U.S. Supreme Court struck down a Texas statute that criminalized homosexual—but not heterosexual—sodomy (Lawrence v. Texas2003).Lawrencesignaled that the political majority’s disapproval of homosexuality, by itself, could no longer justify statutes that legally denied gays and lesbians the full range of intimate human relationships and experiences available to heterosexuals. The decision was hailed as a major victory for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) movement and has since been used by the movement to further promote gay and lesbian rights throughout American social life.

      To be sure, theLawrencecase—like all...

    • 5 Deciding Under the Influence? The “One-Hit Wonders” and Organized-Interest Participation in U.S. Supreme Court Gay Rights Litigation
      (pp. 76-102)
      Courtenay W. Daum

      OVER THE PAST few decades, the struggles for and against the advancement of gay rights and interests—equal protection under the law, privacy rights, and same-sex marriage—have been waged in the courts. Landmark decisions by federal and state courts have increased the saliency of gay rights on the public and political agendas and mobilized individuals and organized interests both in favor of and opposed to the advancement of these interests. Interestgroup litigation research confirms that interest groups play an instrumental role in identifying legal dilemmas, initiating lawsuits, shaping the legal questions for the courts, and suggesting potential solutions and...

    • 6 Parents and Paperwork: Same-Sex Parents, Birth Certificates, and Emergent Legality
      (pp. 103-120)
      Susan M. Sterett

      The effort to add a second parent’s name to a birth certificate has been one site of both individual and collective claims for recognition for queer parenting (Connolly 2002; Dalton 2001).¹ The story of origins that birth certificates tell, cutting off the “back story” of other beginnings (Yngvesson and Coutin 2006), has allowed organizations to litigate claims to equality on behalf of queer families. The National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) and the Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund in the United States have provided amicus briefs and litigated claims to recognition on birth certificates (see, e.g.,In the matter...

  6. PART II Activism, Discourse, and Legal Change

    • 7 The Reform of Sodomy Laws From a World Society Perspective
      (pp. 123-141)
      David John Frank, Steven A. Boutcher and Bayliss Camp

      CONVENTIONAL ACCOUNTS OF sodomy-law reforms¹ tend to overstate the role of national factors, including local LGB social movements, and understate the role of global factors in promoting regulatory changes.² The tendency is sustained in part by prevailing inclinations to focus analytical attention on particular legal reforms in particular country contexts. In this chapter, we take a different approach. We begin by examining original cross-national data on the criminal regulation of sodomy from 1945 to 2005. The data reveal a global postwar sodomy-law reform wave, under way well before domestic LGB movements gained political standing almost anywhere in the world. Overwhelmingly,...

    • 8 Like Sexual Orientation? Like Gender? Transgender Inclusion in Nondiscrimination Ordinances
      (pp. 142-157)
      Amy L. Stone

      BETWEEN 1990 AND 2000, local public officials across the country added explicit transgender protections to twenty-six nondiscrimination ordinances (Currah and Minter 2005).¹ These transgender protections often involved redefining gender or subsuming gender identity within the definition of sexual orientation in the language of these antidiscrimination ordinances.² This inclusion of transgender protections came at the behest of local lesbian, gay, bisexual, and heterosexual ally (LGBH) or transgender activists and was supported by local policy elites such as city council members. This chapter examines how political actors—both the policy elites that author the ordinances and the activists who support them—comprehend...

    • 9 Pushing the Envelope: Dillon’s Rule and Local Domestic-Partnership Ordinances
      (pp. 158-186)
      Charles W. Gossett

      A MAJOR PART of the struggle for gay and lesbian rights in the United States has centered on efforts to have the relationships between same-sex couples recognized by society and treated in a manner comparable, if not identical, to the way in which relationships between opposite-sex couples are treated. One aspect of this struggle sought legal recognition of the relationships by local, state, and national governments. As early as 1971, American gay and lesbian couples were filing legal actions seeking to force state recognition of their de facto marriages, albeit without success (Dupuis 2002; Rubenstein 1993, chapter 5). Rather than...

    • 10 Explaining the Differences: Transgender Theories and Court Practice
      (pp. 187-204)
      Marybeth Herald

      THE CATEGORIES OF male and female have long been viewed as representing two separate and complementary sexes. Persons identifying as transgender, however, do not fit neatly into this binary model.¹ But the yin-and-yang symmetry of the classification system, engraved in our collective unconscious, has a primal appeal that resists challenge, no matter the evidence. The terms “male” and “female” actually represent a blend of factors that may not yield to easy labeling but rather present a more complex picture (Greenberg 1999; Greenberg and Herald 2005).

      When the comfortable binary simplicity is threatened, how do we reconcile the conflict? Several courts...

  7. PART III Legal Symbols:: Constraints and Possibilities

    • 11 It Takes (at Least) Two to Tango: Fighting With Words in the Conflict Over Same-Sex Marriage
      (pp. 207-230)
      Shauna Fisher

      IMMEDIATELY FOLLOWING THE California Supreme Court’s ruling in favor of same-sex marriage, on May 15, 2008, the Family Research Council issued a press release with the following statement: “The California Supreme Court has taken a jackhammer to the democratic process, and the right of the people to affect change in public policy.”¹ On the same day, the Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund issued a press release applauding the decision.“We’re tremendously grati.ed that the Court today has ful.lled its traditional duty,” said Jennifer Pizer, senior counsel for Lambda Legal.²

      Two weeks before Massachusetts began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples,...

    • 12 Do Civil Rights Have a Face? Reading the Iconography of Special Rights
      (pp. 231-256)
      Jonathan Goldberg-Hiller

      THIS CHAPTER EXPLORES the aesthetics of an emergent movement in the United States that has most recently politicized, opposed, and limited same-sex marriage. Organized by conservative religious groups and Republican politicians, its call for law reform has become increasingly popularized through new political themes designed to modulate the value of rights and the place of law in efforts to roll back or prevent advances in gay rights. Seen broadly, the effort to reign in the courts seeks to rearrange the very scheme of government in favor of one with fewer legal restrictions on majority power, and it builds and motivates...

    • 13 A Jury of One’s Queers: Revisiting the Dan White Trial
      (pp. 257-280)
      Casey Charles

      CRITICAL QUEER STUDIES examines the discursive formations through which sexual minorities continue to suffer, in the words of the late Justice Brennan, such a “pernicious and sustained hostility”—such an “immediate and severe opprobrium”—that their only counterparts in the United States are racial groups (Rowland v. Mad River Local School District,470 U.S. 1009, 1014, 105 S.Ct. 1373 [1985] [opinion of Brennan, J., dissenting from a denial of certiorari]. As the legal scholar Mari Matsuda has declared, the “criminal justice system is a primary location of racist, sexist, homophobic, and class based oppression in this county” (Matsuda 1998, 319)....

    • 14 The Gay Divorcée: The Case of the Missing Argument
      (pp. 281-302)
      Ellen Ann Andersen

      ARGUMENTS OVER THE propriety and wisdom of permitting samesex couples to marry currently occupy a prominent place in the American landscape. The debate has played out in many venues, from courts to legislatures to ballots to books to blogs. No matter what the medium, a core argument advanced by marriage equality advocates has been that without the ability to marry, committed same-sex couples are denied access to a host of legal rights and responsibilities designed to promote familial and economic security. And, indeed, the list of legal rights and responsibilities attendant on marriage is a long one. A Government Accounting...

  8. Notes
    (pp. 303-320)
  9. References
    (pp. 321-354)
  10. List of Contributors
    (pp. 355-358)
  11. Index
    (pp. 359-376)