Gay marriage: for better or for worse? : what we've learned from the evidence
Oxford University Press, Jun 20, 2007 - Family & Relationships - 352 pages
Opponents of same-sex marriage in the United States claim that allowing gays and lesbians to marry would undermine the institution of marriage, weaken family structures, and cause harm to children. Drawing from 17 years of data and experience with same-sex marriage in Scandinavia (in the form of registered partnerships), Gay Marriage: For Better or for Worse? is the first book to present empirical evidence about the effects of same-sex marriage on society. Spedale and Eskridge find that the evidence refutes conservative defense-of-marriage arguments and, in fact, demonstrates that the institution of marriage may indeed benefit from the legalization of gay marriage. If we look at the proof from abroad, the authors show, we must conclude that the sanctioning of gay marriage in the United States would neither undermine marriage as an institution, nor harm the wellbeing of our nation's children.
"A very interesting book that people should read."
--Bill O'Reilly, Host, The O'Reilly Factor
"Whatever your views are now on same-sex marriage, this is the book to read to be informed about why same sex couples want legal recognition and what legal union means to them and to the larger community. Spedale and Eskridge give detailed accounts of the effects of registered partnerships in Scandinavia--and along the way, offer fascinating and engaging pictures of many people's lives."
Jeremiah Smith Jr. Professor, Harvard Law School
"Spedale and Eskridge illuminate with remarkable even-handedness a debate that tends to generate more heat than light. They provide a cogent analysis of conservative arguments that same-sex matrimony threatens conventional marriage, and argue persuasively that enabling same-sex partners to marry may actually strengthen that beleaguered institution."
President and CEO, Center for American Progress
"An important and timely contribution. It should be required reading for anyone interested in the future of families in America."
--Martha Albertson Fineman,
Robert W. Woodruff Professor, Emory Law School
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LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - LibraryThing
This is a very thoughtful and measured examination of the arguments against allowing gay marriage. It tests these arguments in the Scandinavian context (where gay partnerships have been legal since as early as 1989) and finds that predictions that gay marriage would thoroughly undermine the family unit are incorrect--if anything, the trend towards lower marriage rates, higher divorce rates, and higher rates of non-marital births have slowed down (and in some cases reversed) in the Scandinavian countries since gay partnerships were allowed. In the concluding chapter Eskridge and Spedale offer advice to the advocates and opponents of gay marriage. To the advocates, they advise focusing on influencing public opinion and states legislatures and not placing all their eggs in the judicial route. They also suggest that advocates should be prepared for a long wait until most states are ready to recognize gay relationships, even in a "civil-union" type format. To opponents, Eskridge and Spedale suggest that scapegoating gay people for the decline of the family will eventually backfire on them, and urge traditionalists to look at deeper sources for the decline of the family unit.
Gay marriage: for better or for worse?: what we've learned from the evidenceUser Review - Book Verdict
This study of same-sex marriage distinguishes itself by avoiding molten rhetoric and grounding its analysis in empirical data from Scandinavia's 16-year history of legal registered partnerships. In clear prose that explains legal minutiae and precedents in lay-reader-friendly terms, the legal scholars apply to the domestic debate the history and statistical evidence of government-sanctioned same-sex marriage in Denmark (since 1989), Norway (since 1993) and Sweden (since 1995). They also offer stories of same-sex couples and a concise history of the movement for same-sex marriage rights internationally. The authors build a convincing case that shoots down spurious interpretations of the Scandinavian data, such as same-sex marriage destroying the institution of marriage and victimizing children. In bringing the issue home, the authors prescribe an incremental process to legalizing same-sex marriage in the United States that involves a "menu approach" where a variety of options are available, including full marriage rights for all. Though the book has its share of dry moments, its reliance on hard data makes it stand out in a crowded field.
Beyond Straight and Gay Marriage: Valuing All Families Under the Law
Nancy D. Polikoff
Limited preview - 2008
Toward a Brave New World
The SameSex Marriage Debate in Scandinavia
Sixteen Years of Scandinavian
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