Marriage Equality: From Outlaws to In-Laws

Yale Univ. Aug. 2020. 1,040p. ISBN 9780300221817. $40. SOC SCI
Eskridge (Yale Law Sch.) and Riano (law, Columbia Univ.) have written a comprehensive account of the long struggle for same-sex marriage. Though ostensibly a legal history, this work is much more than that as the authors interweave stories of people, some well-known, others not, into a compelling narrative. Included are conflicts over the various propositions that tried to overturn marriage equality, including California’s notorious Proposition 8. Following early attempts at civil unions and rights came Hawaii’s pioneering supreme court case granting same-sex marriage. After that, came pushback via the Defense of Marriage Act. Finally, in 2015, Obergefell v. Hodges granted marriage equality throughout the United States. Eskridge and Riano take the story of growing LGBTQ acceptance into the present, taking note of ongoing issues surrounding marriage equality. Most notably, they draw attention to the questions such as whether or not a business can have a religious exemption for providing a service for a same-sex couple.
VERDICT Though lengthy, the work is beautifully and accessibly written. Both general and academic readers will appreciate its comprehensiveness as well as its attention to the human side of the story. An essential work.

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