Loyola University Chicago

Susan Mezey, PhD

 Professor, Political Science

Queers in Court: Gay Rights Law and Public Policy

Rowman and Littlefield: 2007
(ISBN 978-0-7425-4932-6)


This book weighs the effectiveness in litigation in furthering the goals of the gay community by examining the efforts of gay men and women in the United States to challenge discriminatory laws and social norms. Based on their common experiences of exclusion and oppression, gays and lesbians adopted the rhetoric of equality of rights under the law from other minority groups. Like women and racial minorities, lesbians and gays believe the courts a likely arena in which to challenge inequality and turned to the judiciary to vindicate their rights through litigation.

The contents of the book include the gay rights movement in historical context, United States Supreme Court decision making in equality and privacy cases, same sex marriage, the exclusion of gays from military service, and employment discrimination. In examining gay rights litigation over the past five decades, it explores such questions as the extent to which erotic material for a gay audience should be censored; whether the right to privacy is broad enough to encompass same sex conduct; whether private organizations should be permitted to exclude gays from membership or participation in their activities; whether same sex marriages should be legally recognized and granted full panoply of rights adhering to marriage; whether gay men and lesbians should be permitted to serve openly in the military; and whether laws against employment discrimination should apply to gays as they do to other minority groups.