Courting Justice: Gay Men and Lesbians v. the Supreme Court

By Joyce Murdoch; Deb Price | Go to book overview

6
NOWHERE TO HIDE

THE FRONT PAGE OF THE Mansfield (Ohio) News-Journal screamed:

HIDDEN MOVIE CAMERA USED BY POLICE
TO TRAP SEXUAL DEVIATES AT PARK HANGOUT

"Spurred by a sex deviate's confession that he wantonly murdered two little girls who cried out for help when he attempted to molest them, Mansfield Police are completing one of the most spectacular investigations of homosexual depravity ever undertaken," the August 22, 1962, article breathlessly began.

"Sex deviate" was such a broad and horrifying concept for many law enforcement officers in the 1950s and '60s that a ghastly crime could trigger a crackdown on male homosexuals even when the crime was heterosexual and the victims weren't male.

In targeting homosexuals for harassment, police in many states were armed with more than the power to arrest them on charges of "lewd and indecent" conduct for touching or far more serious "sodomy" charges for actual sexual relations. Cold War—era "sexual psychopath" laws had been enacted in 21 states by 1955. These laws, propelled by the fear that anyone who deviated from perceived sexual norms was a menace to society, often allowed so-called sexual psychopaths to be locked away indefinitely in mental institutions.

According to historian Allan Berube,

-135-

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Courting Justice: Gay Men and Lesbians v. the Supreme Court
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Contents v
  • Acknowledgments vii
  • Introduction "Pay No Attention to That Man behind the Curtain" 1
  • 1 - One Standard of Justice 27
  • 2 - A Burning Sense of Injustice 51
  • 3 - Beefcake on the Menu 65
  • 4 - More Than a Homosexual 89
  • 5 - Afflicted with Homosexuality 103
  • 6 - Nowhere to Hide 135
  • 7 - Nothing to Hide 163
  • 8 - A Marble Storm Cellar 189
  • 9 - Ominous, "Unsettled" Times 213
  • 10 - The Chess Master Makes His Move 237
  • 11 - Adrift in a Sea of Gay Clerks 271
  • 12 - Branded Second-Class Citizens 311
  • 13 - Confirming Hostility 355
  • 14 - Crawling toward Empathy 389
  • 15 - Turning a Major Corner 415
  • 16 - The Constitution 'Neither Knows nor Tolerates Classes among Citizens' 451
  • 17 - Counting to Four 483
  • Conclusion - Seeking the Shortest Path to Equal Justice 517
  • Appendix 531
  • Notes on Sources 536
  • Selected Bibliography 561
  • Index 565
  • About the Authors *
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