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Same Sex Marriage In The United States: Focus On The Facts Paperback – August 31, 2004

ISBN-13: 978-0739108826 ISBN-10: 0739108824

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Bookstore and library shelves are now buckling under the weight of tomes about same-sex marriage, but Cahill’s book promises to avoid the tedious emotional rhetoric typically associated with this debate by offering concise observations based on the 2000 census. Cahill, director of the Policy Institute of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, wisely begins by drawing distinctions between civil union, domestic partnership and civil marriage before introducing the reader to statistical information relating to both the pro and anti-gay marriage movements. He also reveals information about the legal and economic status of the many segments of gay culture: couples, parents, senior citizens. For example, Cahill’s revelation that gay men reportedly earn roughly 20 to 25% less than their heterosexual counterparts succinctly refutes the widely held "privileged gay playboy" myth—a tenet of the "no special rights" mantra of many anti-gay ballot campaigns. Germane illustrations and margin notes ("anti-gay groups outspend gay rights organizations by at least a four-to-one ratio") help deliver statistics and the author’s comments. The book concludes with profiles of two lesbian and gay couples who, following the death of their life partners, were denied basic benefits and services afforded to couples who are legally married. These are thoughtful and sobering narratives, but the intended audience for this book, chatterati and "policymakers on both sides of the debate," will no doubt gravitate towards the volume’s legal and economic statistical data.
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Review

Sean Cahill's Same-Sex Marriage in the United States really does 'focus on the facts.' A treasure trove of information, the book offers a crash course on the gay marriage issue and a point by point engagement with critics. It deserves a wide audience. (R Claire Snyder, author of The Case for Gay Marriage: Why American Democracy Requires Full Equality for All Citizens)

An essential guide for anyone involved in the highly charged public debate over marriage equality. For policy-makers, Cahill cuts through the rhetoric over marriage equality. For reporters and commentators, Cahill's book is an indispensable reference. And for the public, Cahill lays out a convincing case for marriage equality without emotional clutter. (Tim McFeeley, Executive Director, Center for Policy Alternatives)

Tracing the development of same-sex marriage in the United States and its deployment as a political tool, Sean Cahill lays out the current situation in plain language and explains what's at stake. (Newsweekly)

In 2003-4, same-sex marriage was certainly among the most visible and contentious social issues in the US. This book presents a timely, clearly written survey of many of the key aspects of the debate and the relevant research relating to it. Altogether, this is an informative, useful contribution to the literature on same-sex marriage. Recommended. (CHOICE)

In a climate of hysteria and anti-gay rhetoric, Cahill's thoughtful commentary demands our attention. This is an excellent contribution to the current debate on same-sex marriage. (Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum, Congregation Beth Simchat Torah)

Bookstore and library shelves are now buckling under the weight of tomes about same-sex marriage, but Cahill's book promises to avoid the tedious emotional rhetoric typically associated with this debate by offering concise observations based on the 2000 census. Cahill, director of the Policy Institute of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, wisely begins by drawing distinctions between civil union, domestic partnership and civil marriage before introducing the reader to statistical information relating to both the pro and anti-gay marriage movements. He also reveals information about the legal and economic status of the many segments of gay culture: couples, parents, senior citizens. For example, Cahill's revelation that gay men reportedly earn roughly 20 to 25% less than their heterosexual counterparts succinctly refutes the widely held "privileged gay playboy" myth—a tenet of the "no special rights" mantra of many anti-gay ballot campaigns. Germane illustrations and margin notes ("anti-gay groups outspend gay rights organizations by at least a four-to-one ratio") help deliver statistics and the author's comments. The book concludes with profiles of two lesbian and gay couples who, following the death of their life partners, were denied basic benefits and services afforded to couples who are legally married. These are thoughtful and sobering narratives, but the intended audience for this book, chatterati and "policymakers on both sides of the debate," will no doubt gravitate towards the volume's legal and economic statistical data. (Publishers Weekly)

Starting with a primer on how judicial decisions (including the Lawrence v. Texas case with Houston roots) opened the floodgates of debate, Cahill exposes the hidden agendas behind well-financed groups who lead the charge against same-sex marriage. (Outsmart)

“They actually used the word ‘hijack’ – just a month after 9-11.”You can hear the contempt in Sean Cahill’s voice as he quotes the “Christian” front group Concerned Women of America’s claim that the roughly 20 gay and lesbian surviving partners of 9-11 victims were trying to “hijack the moral capital of marriage and apply it to their own relationships.” The reason? These men and women who’d lost their partners 30 days earlier in the worst terrorist attack in American history had the audacity to apply for spousal compensation from the taxpayer-funded September 11 Victims Compensation Fund.If you ever thought, even for a moment, that the Republican Party’s decades-long effort to demonize gays and lesbians was born of sincere religious conviction; Sean Cahill’s new book Same-Sex Marriage in the United States: Focus on the Facts will quickly disabuse you of the notion. Painstakingly, powerfully and with a passion not implied by the title, the director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force’s Policy Institute makes the Constitutional case for same-sex marriage. In the process, he paints a devastating picture of the Christian political operations that do the dirty work for the Administration and the Republican National Committee.“A lot of these organizations use gay bashing as a cash cow,” he told the Gay & Lesbian Times in a recent interview. “Gay bashing motivates people to part with their money in a way that abortion doesn’t anymore.”If Cahill’s analysis is correct, what he calls the “anti-gay movement” has every reason to be terrified. Barring a federal Constitutional amendment, “same-sex marriage” is an all-but-inevitable outcome of a kind of legal perfect storm: The 2003 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Lawrence v. Texas, striking down that state’s sodomy law, and the Massachusetts’ Supreme Court’s, five months later, ruling that denying marriage to same-sex couples violates the Commonwealth’s constitutional guarantees of equal protection and due process.In vivid detail Cahill chronicles the incalc (Gay and Lesbian Times)

A fact-driven and fact-heavy book, Cahill takes each argument opposing same-sex marriage and demolishes it point by point, while weaving in additional information about the often-dubious causes that opponents of same-sex marriage are engaged in: against affirmative action, opposing immigration and benefits for legal immigrants, enemies of the Equal Rights Amendment. (Irish Echo)

Cahill presents a refreshingly calm perspective on one of the most polarizing civil rights issues of our time. This essential book provides a succinct overview of the law and policy implications of same-sex marriage and debunks the arguments of its detractors with unimpeachable data. If you want more than a sound bite, if you like intelligent analysis rather than shrill name-calling, read this book. (Urvashi Vaid, co-editor of Creating Change: Sexuality, Public Policy, and Civil Rights)

Dr. Cahill makes a compelling case for ending discrimination in the right to marry. The book is timely, concise, factual, and persuasive. It not only makes the case for same-sex marriage, it forcefully refutes the myths, falsehoods, and outright lies that characterize much of the opposition to full equality for LGBT people. The book should be read widely. (Kenneth Sherrill, Hunter College, CUNY)

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