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Why Marriage Matters: America, Equality, and Gay People's Right to Marry Paperback – June 2, 2005


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster (June 2, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743264592
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743264594
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.4 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #371,584 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"One of the 100 most powerful and influential people in the world."
-- Time

"This is one useful book. Armed with Wolfson's arguments, you could sell anyone with an IQ over room temperature on the wisdom and humanity of marriage equality."
-- The Oregonian

"Gay marriage is one of today's most hotly debated issues. Wolfson articulates the pioneering arguments that have made him one of the nation's most influential gay activists."
-- Los Angeles Times Book Review

"Evan Wolfson's Why Marriage Matters should be required reading. Wolfson's clearly articulated arguments will encourage discussion..."
-- The Advocate

"The distinctive gravity of marriage shines through Wolfson's stories of gay couples seeking recognition."
-- The New York Times Book Review

"Perhaps the most important gay-marriage primer ever written....[A] cogent and moving argument..."
-- Time Out New York

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 25 people found the following review helpful By G. L SPINO on August 7, 2004
Format: Hardcover
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 By D. Rosenblum on September 21, 2004
Format: Hardcover
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 By B. Hartig on August 24, 2004
Format: Hardcover
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 By R. Pearce on August 3, 2004
Format: Hardcover
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 By Rick J. Eichor on September 7, 2004
Format: Hardcover
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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