Sexual Injustice: Supreme Court Decisions from Griswold to Roe

By Marc Stein | Go to book overview

4 :
Boutilier’s Defenders

Liberal and leftist advocates supported the development of the Supreme Court’s heteronormative doctrine in Griswold, Fanny Hill, Loving, Eisenstadt, and Roe. They also contributed to the antigay language and logic of Boutilier. In part, this can be attributed to the constraints of the legal system, but it also reflects the influence of heteronormative ideas on, and the strategic choices made by, Boutilier’s supporters.

Three sets of advocates fought for Boutilier. Blanch Freedman, a leftist immigration lawyer affiliated with the American Committee for the Protection of the Foreign Born (ACPFB), served as his primary attorney. Although Freedman and her comrades had battled immigration authorities for decades and Boutilier was not their first case to reach the Court, it may have been their first to deal with homosexuality, a subject long treated with ambivalence by the left. Boutilier’s second set of advocates worked through the Homosexual Law Reform Society, a new organization in the homophile movement. By the mid-1960s, this movement had been defending the interests of homosexual citizens for nearly two decades but rarely focused on aliens. Boutilier was also supported by the ACLU and the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU), both of which had years of experience fighting for the rights of immigrants and homosexuals, but did not fully embrace sexual freedom and equality. This chapter introduces Boutilier’s advocates; the next shows that their arguments were marked by profound ambivalence about homosexuality.

By the mid-1960s, there was a long history of conflict and cooperation between leftists, libertarians, and homophile activists in the United States. Before World War II, communists, socialists, and anarchists often joined forces with civil libertarians, many of them leftists, to oppose violations of free speech and due process rights. In the Cold War years, however, many leftists disdained the patriotic pieties of civil libertarians and criticized the ACLU’s involvement in anticommunist campaigns and the defense of fascists. Civil libertarians, in turn, often distanced themselves from leftists accused of endorsing violence, advocating revolution, or promoting totalitarianism. In the 1940s, the ACLU began purging communists from its ranks and supporting

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Sexual Injustice: Supreme Court Decisions from Griswold to Roe
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Preface vii
  • Introduction 1
  • Part 1 - Decisions and Doctrines 25
  • 1 - Liberalization’s Limits from Griswold to Roe 27
  • 2 - Consistent Conservatism in Boutilier 57
  • Part 2 - Activists and Advocates 95
  • 3 - Liberalization’s Lawyers 97
  • 4 - Boutilier’s Defenders 133
  • 5 - Boutilier’s Defense 171
  • Part 3 - Readings and Readers 205
  • 6 - Remembering Griswold to Roe 207
  • 7 - Forgetting Boutilier 243
  • Epilogue 279
  • Notes 303
  • Acknowledgments 345
  • Index 349
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