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Courting Equality: A Documentary History of America's First Legal Same-Sex Marriages Paperback – May 1, 2009
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"What stands out in this masterful and nuanced collection of photographs-and the politically astute accompanying text-are the individual efforts over many years that led to the collective triumph for same-sex marriage."—Charlotte Abbott, the Advocate
"The pictures of protests and rallies-both the pro and the anti forces swarming with energy-make you feel like you're witnessing a combination of the American Revolution and a sizzling Red Sox game."—Mopsy Strange Kennedy, Improper Bostonian
"A remarkable chronicle of exactly how social change happens. Marilyn Humphries's vivid photographic documentation of the fight for same-sex marriage hardly needs any elaboration, but Kahn 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
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Top Customer Reviews
Marilyn Humphries' photos document 25 years of the struggle and represent both the personal and political helping the reader to understand how it touched the lives of individuals and families in Massachusetts. Gozemba and Kahn, clearly inspired by the photos, write the story of the struggle as both personal and political history. As I read about the day the decision was handed down I felt like I was reading over Mary Bonauto's shoulder as she first read the decision on the steps of the court, and I felt like I was with each couple as they heard the news and headed to Boston for the press conference held by GLAD later that day to announce the decision.
The book goes on to document the details of the history of the struggle - the political strategy, legal wrangling, and activism that lead to the decision and to its implementation - with clarity and brilliance that neither minimizes the complexity of the process nor complicates it. Finally the authors document the impact of the decision on the personal lives of some of the first couples married in Massachusetts and their families. Their joy, love, and commitment to each other and to the struggle are apparent in both the photos and in the prose.
This is a page-turner, very hard to put down once you start looking at the photos and reading even a little of the text. It also is beautifully designed and laid out. I highly recommend it to anyone interested in the struggle for equality and the workings of democracy.
I remember the foster care debate; I walked the final version of the Gay and Lesbian Civil rights bill around the State House for signatures. I remember the press conferences, the AIDS rallies... I remember thinking GLAD and the Goodridge plaintiffs were wonderfully idealistic and completely out of their minds.
Each photo, each essay serves as a tool to teach my kids about before and after. How people fought hard and believed against all odds in demanding change. They can also pick themselves out of the back row on the first anniversary photo in front of the State House steps. The book is personal and up close. It brings tears to my eyes every time I open it.
I can believe we won.
Over time, many books will be written about the historic changes that occurred in Massachusetts in 2004. Scholars will debate and publish different views. This book? This is one for the heart. It is for anyone and everyone who cares about the movement.
Whether you live in Massachusetts or elsewhere, you will find much in the volume to inform you about one of the hot-button issues of our time. The book opens, after an introductory overview, on the day of the Supreme Judicial Court's Goodridge vs. Department of Public Health decision that legalized same-sex marriage. The authors take us through the initial reactions of Mary Bonauto, the lead attorney on the case, and the seven plaintiff couples as they hasten to the press conference.
The next chapter brings us back to the early days of the LGBT civil-rights movement in Massachusetts, where the state helped set a trend for the nation. This is not intended to be a complete history of the fight for same-sex marriage, however. It is in fact greatly educational to read a history that eschews overviews and details the ups and downs within a particular state. The tale reads in part like a suspense novel, full of political machinations.
This is more than a story of politics, however. Throughout the work, we hear the voices of regular LGBT citizens and their allies. The last chapter is a celebration of the first same-sex wedding ceremonies. The authors place us in line with the first couples waiting to wed on May 17, 2004, and convey the giddy atmosphere that prevailed. They tell us the wedding stories of the seven Goodridge plaintiffs and many others besides.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Beautiful book. These pictures not only documented this important historical movement, but were critical also in shaping public opinion. Read morePublished 14 months ago by minnek
About 10,000 same-sex couples have wed in Massachusetts since 2003, when that state's Supreme Court handed down a decision that made such unions legal in the state. Read morePublished on December 3, 2007 by Cecil Bothwell
This book chronicles the struggle for marriage equality brilliantly! The authors tell the back story of how activists built on other court cases branching back to the seventies to... Read morePublished on July 22, 2007 by Amy6778
Lavish in prose and photography, COURTING EQUALITY presents the struggle to equal rights in marriage by Massachusetts' gay and lesbian community. Read morePublished on May 27, 2007 by Susan Vick
I'm a long-time admirer of the photography of Marilyn Humphries, whose political conscience and capacity to connect deeply and unobtrusively with her subjects place her in a very... Read morePublished on May 24, 2007 by Donald F. Dal Maso
Courting Equality, with touching and accessible prose by Pat Gozemba and Karen Kahn, and riveting photos by Marilyn Humphries, will certainly influence public opnion on the issue... Read morePublished on May 22, 2007 by C. Julie Whitlow
Want to see democracy at work? Courting Equality eloquently tells the story in brilliant photojournalism and gripping prose of how the LGBT community and its allies in... Read morePublished on May 22, 2007 by Kate Hogan