Series Foreword

MICHAEL MELLO begins his book, Legalizing Gay Marriage: Ver- mont and the National Debate, with the astute observation that “like abortion and capital punishment, same-sex marriage sits on the cultural fault line of morality, religion, and law.” Mello explores the topic of same-sex marriage through a fascinating discussion of Baker v. State, a 1999 decision of the Vermont Supreme Court, which, in recognition of “our common humanity,” held that the Vermont constitution guarantees same-sex couples the same benefits and protections enjoyed by married heterosexual couples. In response to Baker, the Vermont legislature enacted a “civil unions” law that provided to gay couples more than 300 benefits enjoyed by married heterosexuals but stopped short of opening up the institution of civil marriage to include gay and lesbian couples.

Although others have written about the creation of civil unions in Vermont, Mello goes beyond the formal confines of the courtroom and the legislative chamber and, through a remarkable collection of primary sources, presents a fascinating description of the political and cultural environment that resulted in the creation of civil unions. Mello also takes issue with others who have unqualified praise for Vermont's approach. He acknowledges that Vermont's civil union represents a significant step forward in the struggle for gay rights, but insists that it ultimately fails because it stigmatizes same-sex unions through the same sort of “separate but equal” treatment that once characterized racial distinctions and that was ultimately rejected by the Supreme Court in Brown v. Board of Education. Mello's analysis makes clear that even in the most progressive quarters, our nation is in denial about the extent of our homophobia.

Legalizing Gay Marriage is a most timely and important discussion of an issue that is likely to dominate the social and legal agenda for years to come. Indeed, in 2003, several Canadian courts held that the prohibition on same-sex marriage violates Canada's Charter of Rights and


Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this page

Cited page

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Legalizing Gay Marriage


Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 337

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?