Editors: William N. Elkridge Jr. and Robin Fretwell Wilson
Publisher:  Cambridge University Press – 542 pages
Book Review by: Sonu Chandiram

Many groups in the United States have taken various stances in the fight for, or against, lesbian-gay-bisexual-transgender (LGBT) individuals having legal rights of many kinds. Some of these are religious organizations such as the National Association of Evangelicals and Catholics, and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS).

Others are civil rights associations such as the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).

The legalization of same-sex marriage began with one state in 2004 to all 50 states in 2015, according to an article in Wikipedia. On May 17, 20014, Massachusetts was the first state to recognize that a marriage between two individuals of the same sex was legal, following the Supreme Court’s decision in Goodridge v. Department of Public Health. 

Other U.S. states followed by declaring that same-sex wedlock was recognized by law, mainly after, which was brought about mainly with local lawsuits being filed by individuals contesting state laws that defined marriage as a relationship between a man and a woman.

On June 26, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court in a decision on the case Obergefell v. Hodges effectively ended restrictions on same-sex marriage all over the United States. At least three other countries recognize the legality of same-sex marriage, and they are: Armenia, Israel, and Mexico, although we have not yet referred to other updated sources hat include more countries.

Most organizations that have campaigned against gay marriage and continue to oppose it are religious in nature.

Thirty-six people including the two editors named above, having backgrounds in academia, faith, LGBT advocacy, law, and research areas on issues pertaining to LGBT individuals, contributed content to this book. Too numerous to individually cite the titles of its 34 chapters, we name below the nine Parts of this book instead, and they are the following:

  • Part I – The Search for Common Ground: Framing the Dialogue
  • Part II – Guiding Principles for Mediating Conflicts
  • Part III – The Demands of Faith: Perspectives from Select Faith Traditions
  • Part IV – Testing the Civil Rights Analogy
  • Part V – Strings Attached? Government Support of Religion and Religious Institutions
  • Part VI – Educational Institutions in the Age of Same-Sex Marriage
  • Part VII – The Challenges of Public Accommodations
  • Part VIII – Reflections from Advocates, Legislators, and Policymakers
  • Part IX – Afterword

This book is important because the perspectives presented by the contributors run the whole gamut of positions, from the most ardent and strident of LGBT advocates and supporters to people most vehemently opposed to males marrying other males or females marrying other females. The book essentially provides a 360-degree view on issues pertaining to religious freedom, sexual liberty, and more. You will find enlightenment, information, knowledge, and wisdom.

 

 

Editors:

William N. Eskridge Jr. is John A. Garver Professor of Independence at Yale Law School. His primary academic legal interest has been statutory interpretation. Together with Professor Philip Frickey, he developed an innovative casebook on legislation. In 1990-95 Professor Eskridge represented a gay couple suing for recognition of their same-sex marriage.

Since then, he has published a field-establishing casebook,, three monographs and dozens of law review articles articulating a legal and political framework for proper state treatment of sexual and gender minorities. The historical materials in his book Gaylaw formed the basis for an amicus brief he drafted for the Cato Institute and for much of the Court’s (and dissenting opinion’s) analysis in Lawrence v. Texas (2003) which invalidated consensual sodomy laws.

 

Robin Fretwell Wilson is  the Roger and Stephany Joslin Professor Law at the University of Illinois College of Law. Professor Fretwell assisted the Utah legislature as it enacted landmark legislation balancing religious freedom and LGBT non-discrimination protections. She also founded and directs the Fairness for All Initiative, which provides tangible support to legislators seeking to enact laws protecting both communities.

A member of the American Law Institute, she is the author, coauthor or editor of 11 books including Same-Sex Marriage and Religious Liberty and The Contested Place of Religion in Family Law. In 2018, she received the Thomas L. Kane Religious Freedom Award.