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Legalizing gay marriage

Author: Michael Mello
Publisher: Philadelphia : Temple University Press, 2004.
Series: America in transition (Philadelphia, Pa.)
Edition/Format:   Book : EnglishView all editions and formats
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Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: Michael Mello
ISBN: 159213078X 9781592130788 1592130798 9781592130795
OCLC Number: 53896741
Description: xiv, 337 p. ; 24 cm.
Contents: Vermont : a preview of America's war over same-sex civil marriage --
The Baker decision : a legitimate exercise in constitutional adjudication --
Backlash against gays and lesbians : a despised minority in Vermont --
Vermont's "third way" : enacting civil unions as an alternative to civil marriage --
The choice : what's wrong with Vermont's civil marriage substitute --
Conclusion : three years after --
Appendix : Vermont Supreme Court decision for Baker v. State.
Series Title: America in transition (Philadelphia, Pa.)
Responsibility: Michael Mello ; foreword by David L. Chambers.

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Every day seems to bring news of legal challenges to existing marriage laws and the constitutionality of any form of union for same-sex partners. In this timely and accessible book, Michael Mello argues that the public debates and political battles that have divided Vermont and Massachusetts will be repeated across the country as state after state confronts the issue of legalizing gay marriage. Mello examines recent landmark decisions in state and federal high courts granting civil rights protections to homosexuals. In Vermont, the Supreme Court's recommendation that legislators recognize the "common humanity" that links all individuals irrespective of sexual identity and consider the question of same-sex marriage resulted in the first state legislation to establish civil union. In Massachusetts, the court's ruling that gay marriage is a right protected by the state constitution has plunged the legislature into a contentious debate about a constitutional amendment. In both states, as in California and New York, public discussion of equal civil protections for gays and lesbians soon become mired in contending views of morality, religion, social mores, and the sanctity of heterosexual marriage. Mello regards the widespread and virulent opposition to any form of same-sex unions as proof that in Vermont, as elsewhere, homosexuals are indeed a "despised minority" in need of the law's protection. Thus, civil union laws represent only a partial victory because they create a separate and inherently unequal category of relationships for gay people. Mello's analysis of the issues provides an invaluable guide to the battles being waged in state legislatures and by politicians at the national level.

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