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Why Marriage Matters: America, Equality, and Gay People's Right to Marry [Kindle Edition]

Evan Wolfson
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $16.99
Kindle Price: $12.99
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Speak Now by Kenji Yoshino
Speak Now by Kenji Yoshino
A nuanced and authoritative account of Hollingsworth v. Perry, the trial that will stand as the most potent argument for marriage equality. Learn more | See similar books

Book Description

Why Marriage Matters offers a compelling and clear discussion of a question at the forefront of our national consciousness. It is the work of a brilliant civil rights litigator who has dedicated his life to the protection of individuals' rights and our Constitution's commitment to equal justice under the law. Above all, it is a thoughtful, straightforward book that brings into sharp focus the human significance of the right to marry in America -- not just for some couples, but for all.
Whatever your personal beliefs, we all can agree that marriage equality provokes both passion and tension, and looms large in our nation's politics. Marriage means many things to many people -- emotionally, spiritually, intellectually -- but in these pages, Evan Wolfson demonstrates a truth that is undeniable: Marriage is the legal gateway to a vast array of tangible and intangible protections, responsibilities, and benefits, most of which cannot be replicated in any other way.
Wolfson is a formidable legal thinker who has participated in landmark cases to end race discrimination in jury trials, to secure the rights of battered married women, and to challenge the abuse of power at the highest level in government. Now, with extraordinary clarity, fascinating stories, and legal and historical examples, he addresses the questions we as Americans are asking ourselves as we consider how marriage equality will affect our lives. Why is the word marriage so important? What are the stakes for America in this civil rights movement? How can people of different faiths reconcile their beliefs with the idea of marriage for same-sex couples? How will allowing gay couples to marry affect children? Here you will find thorough, honest answers -- some that may surprise you, some that will persuade you, many that will move you. Wolfson recalls the history of past battles over marriage and movements for equality, and articulates the everyday acts of discrimination that frame this current movement -- acts of discrimination that, if faced by non-gay Americans, would provoke a resounding cry of injustice.
Marriage matters because it is a foundation upon which most Americans build dreams. It is the cornerstone of commitment one individual makes to another -- a commitment we are taught is the highest expression of love, dedication, and responsibility. In this, the most powerful, authoritative, and fairly articulated book on the subject, Wolfson demonstrates why the right to marry is important -- indeed necessary -- for all couples and for America's promise of equality.

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

A nationally renowned attorney and director of Freedom to Marry, Wolfson hails the movement for marriage equality as "one of the first important civil rights campaigns of the 21st century" and grounds support for it within the logic of the long-established protest traditions in U.S. history: abolition, the women's suffrage movement and the racial equality movements of the 1950s and '60s. Unlike those who support gay marriage as a way to regulate what they see as the self-destructive sexual practices of homosexuals (David Brooks, Jonathan Rauch, Andrew Sullivan), Wolfson sidelines the issue of morality and discusses the right to marry as part of each citizen's inalienable claim to what the Declaration of Independence calls the "pursuit of happiness." Framing his argument strictly in terms of civil rights and grounding it in conventional definitions of the public significance of marriage, Wolfson is refreshing, smart, thorough and easy to follow. Most provocatively, Wolfson excises "gay marriage" from the debate entirely, writing that the term "impl[ies] that same-sex couples are asking for rights and privileges that married couples do not have, or for rights that are something lesser or different from what non-gay couples have. In fact, we don't want 'gay marriage,' we want marriage." For now, it is available in Boston.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


"Seasoned Authors, Reasoned Arguments" - marriage books by Andrew Sullivan and Evan Wolfson, Bay Window ...accessible to the layperson on both technical and emotional levels.

Product Details

  • File Size: 378 KB
  • Print Length: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster (November 1, 2007)
  • Sold by: Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B000SGIN3M
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #892,199 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you care about Marriage, read this book! August 7, 2004
After reading WHY MARRIAGE MATTERS, AMERICA, EQUALITY AND GAY PEOPLE'S RIGHT TO MARRY, by Evan Wolfson, I felt proud to be an American again! I have struggled with the direction that this country has been going in and wanted to believe that we're truly are a country of the people, by the people and for the people. The underlying patriotism and sense of hope that is the basis of this book struck a chord in my heart.

America is struggling with the issue of marriage and who should be allowed to marry. WHY MARRIAGE MATTERS addresses the concerns of the everyday American with respect and accuracy. Wolfson touches on issues from the religious response to the historical argument, from racial equality to what the opponents of marriage equality DON'T want you to know. He does this with and consistent reverence to the founding principles of our great country and reminds the reader of those principles with inspiring quotes from American leaders through the ages. It is the duty of every American to read this book so that they will be able to discuss the issue of marriage with their friends and families.

The final message of this book is one of unity and hope. We all need this. I strongly recommend that every person who cares about marriage buy 2 copies of this book, one to read and one to share with those they love. There is nothing greater about this country than the importance we all place on communication and communion of truth. If everyone approached the issue of marriage from Wolfson's point of view, there would be far less misunderstanding surrounding this very important American institution. Please do yourself, and your family, a favor and read WHY MARRIAGE MATTERS.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Definitive Argument for Equal Marriage Rights September 21, 2004
This book achieves the rare feat of making a non-fiction book into a page- turner. The arguments of course are compelling, reflecting the most persuasive points in a pithy fashion. It is the examples of how marriage impacts individual lives that keeps you reading it. Quite simply, the combination of effective argument and people's lives will convince the most skeptical. Even those who disagree with equal marriage rights should read this to see what arguments they need to defeat. A great book for anyone - you won't put it down.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thanks, Mr. Wolfson, for your book and your struggles! August 24, 2004
As the debate for marriage equality for same-sex couples moves to the ballot box in a dozen states this Fall, Evan Wolfson's thought-provoking and well-laid-out book, Why Marriage Matters, could not have appeared at a better time.

Addressed to a gay, as well as non-gay, audience, Mr. Wolfson builds up a steady and powerful case for marriage equality in our country's legal system. He addresses this subject in layman's terms but without being too simple. He doesn't preach, but answers the questions (and explains his answers) that are most often on the minds of those on both sides of the fence.

One of the most interesting and significant concepts Mr. Wolfson lays out and clarifies is that of marriage equality as a civil right. He explains how marriage equality parallels other civil rights issues, dissecting arguments made against marriage equality. He shows how the same arguments that have been used at various points over the past two hundred years to deny other citizens their constitutionally guaranteed civil rights continue to be used to this day to deny marriage equality.

The book reads as much like a thoughtful and provocative essay for the general public as it does a primer for concerned gay and lesbian citizens interested in how marriage equality could affect their personal and legal lives. Addressing the anti-same-sex marriage constitutional amendments being voted on in several states this Fall, Mr. Wolfson shows why, after these battles are over, there will still be much to struggle for in the days beyond. Mr. Wolfson not only forecasts trends, but he prepares his audience for their realization through a series of recommendations and ideas for educating Americans and dealing with fairness issues.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you read one book on this topic, this is it August 3, 2004
Having known Evan Wolfson and his work for years, I expected the book to be brilliant. What astounded me was that Wolfson has found a way both to cover all the issues and to provide a great read. After I began the book, I couldn't put it down. Integrating personal stories and analysis,the book is compelling from cover to cover. He is truly the Martin Luther King, Jr. of this movement.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Why Marriage Matters September 7, 2004
In penning "Why Marriage Matters" Evan Wolfson has captured, in a calm and persuasive manner, the reasons why gays and lesbians should be granted the right to marry. If one views the family as the "basic unit" of society, it is not, as the opponents of equal access to marriage claim, restricted to one man and one woman united for procreation. As Wolfson notes, not all couples have children, not all children have two parents, and the only common theme for those wanting to get married is love and commitment.

Wolfson confronts and dismantles each emotional, religious, and social reason put forth in this raging cultural war. And as he observes, the arguments are not new, unique, nor confined to homosexuals. The same arguments have been repeatedly used to deny other minority groups their civil rights. Wolfson demonstrates that marriage is a legal right, not a religious one and the government has no compelling reason to discriminate against homosexuals in this most basic of all civil rights - the right to chose your spouse.

Although Wolfson's book is unlikely to change the mind of his staunchest opponents in the "rites and rights" battle, it will convince many who come with an open mind that there is no good or just reason to deny homosexuals the right to legally marry. "Why Marriage Matters" is a compelling book written by a man at the heart of a struggle. It is must read for anyone interested in this important issue.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Scholarly and filled with data and logic.
Published 7 months ago by tim earhart
5.0 out of 5 stars Evan Wolfson has been at the forefront of the marriage ...
Evan Wolfson has been at the forefront of the marriage equality battle from the beginning. He knows the ins and outs of the issue, and he was there though it all. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Hobbit
5.0 out of 5 stars Very articulate presentation
Wolfson writes with superb logic, never letting hsi passion about the topic to interfer with presenting his argument. Read more
Published 24 months ago by Richard A. Sakornbut
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it
Now remember, this is a very biased book. This is Wolfson's oppion, lifestyle, and he's a lawyer, so he knows how to get his point across. Read more
Published on April 2, 2013 by Gretchen Mowery
5.0 out of 5 stars Interested in marriage equality? Read this book.
This book is excellent. My only problem was my own problem! Ha! I got irritated because everything made sense to me. I questioned why many times while reading this book. Read more
Published on July 23, 2011 by Leah
5.0 out of 5 stars Arrived Promptly
This book was a last-minute reference for a term paper so I was under time constraints. It arrived promptly and in excellent condition.
Published on December 30, 2009 by Lynette E. Mcevoy
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
Wolfson does an excellent job of explaining how gay marriage is a civil rights issue. He details the flaws in the anti argument.
Published on June 10, 2009 by Hedgetiggy
5.0 out of 5 stars This book gives a realistic, positive perspective to gays gaining the...
This is a book EVERY American should read. Because whether you are gay or love someone who is, Evan puts the issue of 'marriage equality' into a hopeful, just perspective that... Read more
Published on February 27, 2008 by Barbara Elgin
3.0 out of 5 stars expected more
I just finished Evan Wolfson's Why Marriage Matters, and although I am salivating at the thought of spending the rest of my night immersed in a tirade that focuses on what this... Read more
Published on April 21, 2006 by B. L. Williams
4.0 out of 5 stars Good primer on the next major civil rights issue
Do gays have the right to marry? This is emerging as the next civil rights issue to cross the American political scene. Read more
Published on February 6, 2006 by Newton Ooi
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