A Pride Month Reading List

The University Press of Kansas is proud to help celebrate Pride Month with a curated list of books studying the legal battle for gay rights…

 

No Place Like Home; Lessons in Activism from LGBT Kansas

by C.J. Janovy

Far from the coastal centers of culture and politics, Kansas stands at the very center of American stereotypes about red states. In the American imagination, it is a place LGBT people leave. No Place Like Home is about why they stay. The book tells the epic story of how a few disorganized and politically naïve Kansans, realizing they were unfairly under attack, rolled up their sleeves, went looking for fights, and ended up making friends in one of the country’s most hostile states.

 

 

The Courts, the Ballot Box, and Gay Rights; How Our Governing Institutions Shape the Same-Sex Marriage Debate

by Joseph Mello

If the same-sex marriage debate tells us one thing, its that rights do not exist in a vacuum. What works for one side at the ballot box often fails in the courtroom. Conservative opponents of same-sex marriage used appeals to religious liberty and parental rights to win ballot measure campaigns, but could not duplicate this success in court. Looking at the same-sex marriage debate at the ballot box and in the courts, this timely book offers unique insights into one of the most fluid social and legal issues of our day—and into the role of institutional context in how rights are used.

 

Judging the Boy Scouts of America; Gay Rights, Freedom of Association, and the Dale Case

by Richard J. Ellis

As Americans, we cherish the freedom to associate. However, with the freedom to associate comes the right to exclude those who do not share our values and goals. What happens when the freedom of association collides with the equally cherished principle that every individual should be free from invidious discrimination? This is precisely the question posed in Boy Scouts of America v. James Dale, a lawsuit that made its way through the courts over the course of a decade, culminating in 2000 with a landmark ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court. In Judging the Boy Scouts of America, Richard J. Ellis tells the fascinating story of the Dale case, placing it in the context of legal principles and precedents, Scouts’ policies, gay rights, and the culture wars in American politics.

 

The Case for Gay Rights; From Bowers to Lawrence and Beyond

by David A. J. Richards

As Americans wrestle with red-versus-blue debates over traditional values, defense of marriage, and gay rights, reason often seems to take a back seat to emotion. In response, David Richards, a widely respected legal scholar and long-time champion of gay rights, reflects upon the constitutional and democratic principles—relating to privacy, intimate life, free speech, tolerance, and conscience-that underpin these often-heated debates.

 

The Sharon Kowalski Case; Lesbian and Gay Rights on Trial

by Casey Charles

While car-crash victim Sharon Kowalski lay comatose in the hospital, battle lines were drawn between her parents and her lesbian companion Karen Thompson, initiating a nearly decade-long struggle over the guardianship of Kowalski. The ensuing litigation became a rallying point for gays and lesbians frustrated by laws and social stigmas that treated them as second-class citizens. Considered the most compelling case of his lifetime by the late Tom Stoddard, former executive director of the Lambda Legal Defense Fund, the Kowalski legal saga also resonated deeply among AIDS patients who worried that they too might be legally deprived of their partners’ care.

National Review Lauds “Hoover’s War on Gays”

9780700621194The National Review lauds Douglas Charles’s “Hoover’s War on Gays” as, “an excellent example of how to write about a dark chapter in the Bureau’s past…The author is remarkably objective about a time when a prude, and possible hypocrite, lumped gays in with authentic traitors.”  With its painstaking recovery of a dark chapter in American history and its new insights into seemingly familiar episodes of that story—involving noted journalists, politicians, and celebrities—this thorough and deeply engaging book reveals the perils of authority run amok and stands as a reminder of damage done in the name of decency.

Before The Recent Announcement By the Boy Scouts of America, There Was the Case of Scouts of America v. James Dale

9780700619511The Washington Posts writes, “The executive committee of the Boy Scouts of America has unanimously approved a resolution that would drop the group’s blanket ban on openly gay leaders, a key step that puts the organization on the verge of its second historic shift in three years.”  Read “Judging the Boy Scouts of America:  Gay Rights, Freedom of Association, and the Dale Case” for context on Scouts of America v. James Dale, a lawsuit that made its way through the courts over the course of a decade, culminating in 2000 with a landmark ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court. In “Judging the Boy Scouts of America,” Richard J. Ellis tells the fascinating story of the Dale case, placing it in the context of legal principles and precedents, Scouts’ policies, gay rights, and the culture wars in American politics.

Boy Scouts of America and Gay Rights

9780700619511As the Boy Scouts’ president calls for an end to the banning of gay leaders, Richard J. Ellis’s book “Judging the Boy Scouts of America: Gay Rights, Freedom of Association, and the Dale Case” presents the landmark James Dale case from its initial filing in New Jersey through the final decision of the U.S. Supreme Court in favor of the Scouts. In addition to examining the legal issues at stake, including the effect of the Supreme Court’s ruling on the law of free association, Ellis also describes Dale’s personal journey and its intersection with an evolving gay rights movement.  Throughout he seeks to understand the puzzle of why the Boy Scouts would adopt and adhere to a policy that jeopardized the organization’s iconic place in American culture—and, finally, explores how legal challenges and cultural changes contributed to the Scouts’ historic policy reversal in May 2013 that ended the organization’s ban on gay youth–though not gay adults–until now.