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

By Joyce Murdoch; Deb Price | Go to book overview

7
NOTHING TO HIDE

MIKE MCCONNELL MET JACK BAKER on a blind date at a Halloween party in an Oklahoma barn in 1966 when they were 24-year-old graduate students. Distinctly unimpressed, McConnell scolded the matchmaker: "Don't ever fix me up again! I really don't like him." The matchmaker confidently responded, "You don't know what you're talking about. You two were destined for one another." McConnell admits, "He was right. It was true. I fell in love." On Baker's twenty-fifth birthday, the two young men became "betrothed," as they put it, in a private ceremony.

If Frank Kameny is the visionary Martin Luther King Jr. of the gay‐ rights movement, James Michael "Mike" McConnell and Richard John "Jack" Baker together are its Rosa Parks. Refusing to let their relationship be relegated to the back of the bus, they eventually seized a privilege that the dominant majority assumed was restricted, in the natural order of things, to itself: legal matrimony. As rapidly growing numbers of gay people gained self-respect and moved out from the shadows, the nature of the homosexual cases reaching the Supreme Court gradually changed. McConnell and Baker brought the court the first gay cases that fundamentally were about love, not sex.

The couple's first introduction to gay liberation was through Frank Kameny and fellow gay-rights pioneer Barbara Gittings. "That's what lit our fires of pride," McConnell says, recalling that he and Baker met the activists while living in Kansas City, Missouri, in the late 1960s. "These fine people were willing to say, 'Look, I'm as good as anybody else.' That's all I needed to hear."

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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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