Courting Equality

Courting Equality

A Documentary History of America's First Legal Same-sex Marriages

Book - 2007
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Random House, Inc.
On November 18, 2003, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court granted equal marriage benefits to same-sex couples. The decision provoked a searing public debate over the meaning of marriage and family, civil rights, and the role of religion in law and society. But the experiment went forward nonetheless: thousands of Massachusetts gays and lesbians married and, remarkably, the sky did not fall.

Through engaging storytelling and powerful photographs, Courting Equality takes readers through the volatile public debate following the decision and introduces some of the many lesbian and gay families who have taken advantage of equal marriage laws. In Massachusetts, equal marriage has not destroyed the family but rather has reinforced the importance of love, commitment, fairness, and equality to the functioning of healthy democratic communities.

Houghton
The inspiring story of America’s only successful battle for gay marriage—the court cases, the protests, and finally, the weddings!

On November 18, 2003, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court granted equal marriage benefits to same-sex couples. The decision provoked a searing public debate over the meaning of marriage and family, civil rights, and the role of religion in law and society. But the experiment went forward nonetheless: thousands of Massachusetts gays and lesbians married and, remarkably, the sky did not fall.

Through engaging storytelling and powerful photographs, Courting Equality takes readers through the volatile public debate following the decision and introduces some of the many lesbian and gay families who have taken advantage of equal marriage laws. In Massachusetts, equal marriage has not destroyed the family but rather has reinforced the importance of love, commitment, fairness, and equality to the functioning of healthy democratic communities.

A former professor of English and Women’s Studies, Patricia A. Gozemba is the coauthor of Pockets of Hope: How Students and Teachers Change the World. She is also a founding member of The History Project, which has been documenting LGBT Boston since 1980. The former editor of Sojourner: The Women’s Forum, Karen Kahn also edited Frontline Feminism: Essays from Sojourner’s First Twenty Years. Gozemba and Kahn got married in September 2005; they live in Salem, Massachusetts.

“Courting Equality offers timely and vivid testimony to the power of commitment. Gozemba and Kahn take great care in tracing the complex legal and legislative processes that resulted in the first legal same-sex weddings. These fascinating behind-the-scenes stories are valuable reminders that the profound historic events surrounding the Goodridge case were played out on an intimate, human scale, in the lives of real families. Marilyn Humphries’ photographs are a gift to us all. They provide moving and eloquent documentation of each stage in the struggle to end discrimination in the Massachusetts marriage statutes. Courting Equality bears witness to the determination, the love, and, ultimately, the jubilation of thousands of ordinary people who believed in an extraordinary dream.” —Rev. William G. Sinkford, President of the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations

“In Courting Equality, Marilyn Humphries’ stunning photos show both what the struggle for equality looks like and what it feels like. She has been there every step of the way as this history has unfolded. She, Patricia Gozemba, and Karen Kahn have documented an important piece of American history and our national project of expanding fairness and ending discrimination. The more people get to know gay people, the more they support us, our families, and our rights. This book shows how some of our own legislators and fellow citizens got to know us and their journey to embracing fairness. Courting Equality will help others make that journey.” —Mary L. Bonauto, Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders, Lead counsel, Goodridge v. Department of Public Health

"Courting Equality is a very important book on several levels. First, it chronicles the events that led up to same sex marriage in Massachusetts, an historic event in our country’s move towards making the wonderful principles of the Constitution applicable to all of our citizens. Second, it shows how political support in the elected Legislature grew rapidly as the reality of allowing same sex couples to love each other demolished the prejudices that prevented same sex marriage previously. Finally, it reinforces the point—which was no surprise to those of us fighting for equal treatment for all people—that same sex marriage has been an entirely positive thing for thousands of men and women in Massachusetts, and has had zero negative consequences at all. Too often, political literature focuses on the bad news, Courting Equality tells some very good news very weell." —Congressman Barney Frank

“Courting Equality is a remarkable chronicle of exactly how social change happens. Marilyn Humpries’vivid photographic documentation of the fight for same-sex marriage hardly needs any elaboration, but Kahn’s and Gozemba’s accompanying legal history is riveting. Words and pictures together create a moving, human portrait of representative democracy at work.” —Alison Bechdel, author of Fun Home and Dykes to Watch Out For

“Hopefully, MassEquality or some other such group will also distribute a copy of Beacon Press’s newly published Courting Equality: A Documentary History of America’s First Legal Same-Sex Marriage to every lawmaker. The book is an elegantly moving and gorgeously illustrated account of the battle for civil marriage rights here in Massachusetts.” —Bay Windows, book mention in the May 3rd issue

“For gay marriage boosters, to read "Courting Equality" is a literary experiencce of sheer ecstasy, a brief pause of unbridled jjoy in thhhhe ongoing - and by no means over - struggle to preserve and protect same-sex marriage. It's a delightful sneak peak over the rainbow.” —In Newsweekly

“The pictures of protests and rallies—both the pro and anti-forces swarming with energy—make you feel like you’re witnessing a combination of the American Revolution and a sizzling Red Sox game. Marginalized no more, these gay couples (in both senses of the word) are photographed goin’ to the chapel, hugging kids, looking joyful, homey, even rather Hallmark mainstream—at last.” —Improper Bostonian

Marilyn Humphries is an independent photojournalist whose work over the past twenty-five years has appeared in numerous publications, ranging from the New York Times and The Pro g ressive to Bay Windows, Gay Community News, and the Boston Phoenix. She lives in Beverly, Massachusetts.


Baker & Taylor
Describes the struggle to legalize same-sex marriage, from the 1972 Stonewall parade in Boston, through the Goodrich decision in Massachusetts in 2003, to the first legal same-sex marriage in the United States in May, 2004.

Book News
Filled with photos of the people involved in getting gay marriage enacted in Massachusetts, and those who got married once it was, this oversized volume (10.25x10.25") contains the whole story of the historic process and event. Annotation ©2008 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Blackwell North Amer
With a ruling announced on November 18, 2003, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court changed history, granting full marriage rights to same-sex couples in the state. After years of fighting this case in the courtroom and months awaiting a final decision, the lawyers from Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD), the seven plaintiff couples, and the families and friends of everyone involved were ecstatic. The gay and lesbian community and their allies throughout Massachusetts were equally thrilled, but they knew the struggle was not over.
On May 17, 2004, the fiftieth anniversary of the Brown v. Board of Education decision, the state began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Courting Equality captures, in words and images, how this ruling came to be and the social and political engagement that occurred in the ensuing months, as activists for and against same-sex marriage mobilized around proposed constitutional amendments. The debates inside the Massachusetts State House were full of passion and outrage, with many legislators changing their vote after hearing from constituents who maintained that discrimination should not be written into the country's oldest state constitution. At the same time, day after day, scores of activists chanted, sang, and stood vigil outside, intent on making their voices heard in this contentious debate. Photographer Marilyn Humphries was always on the front lines, capturing images of all the players.
Courting Equality also shows that conservative fears of the sky falling with the legalization of gay marriage were unfounded. Marriage for all of the state's citizens has in fact strengthened families, offering protection and stability for a community that has faced discrimination and uncertainty for far too long.
Gays and lesbians in other states across the country still do not have the right to marry, and many are fighting constitutional amendments that prevent this right from ever becoming a reality. Courting Equality offers a vision of how to fight and what can happen when justice truly prevails.

Publisher: Boston : Beacon Press, c2007
ISBN: 9780807066201
0807066206
Branch Call Number: 306.848 GOZ
Characteristics: xxx, 190 p. : ill. (chiefly col.) ; 26 cm
Additional Contributors: Kahn, Karen 1955-
Humphries, Marilyn

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