Gay and Lesbian Rights in the United States: A Documentary History

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Walter L. Williams, Yolanda Retter
Greenwood Press, 2003 - Law - 317 pages
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The movement for gay and lesbian rights in America is a response to long-held beliefs that have, at times throughout the history of the United States, made homosexuality legally, politically, and socially unacceptable. This collection of primary documents explores those beliefs and their counter-arguments, providing varying viewpoints on the complex issue of gay and lesbian rights. Personal testimonies, laws, opinion pieces, court cases, and other documents, dating from colonial times to the present day, encourage students to challenge their assumptions and strengthen critical thinking skills.

The struggle for gay and lesbian rights in the United States is founded on the idea that feelings of love and sexual attraction between persons of the same sex are natural, moral, normal, psychologically healthy, and deserving of full equality in all aspects of society. The documents presented in this unique collection clearly portray the arguments that have been used to refute this idea, and how homosexuals in U.S. society have fought for acceptance as people worthy of equal rights. The struggle is traced chronologically, providing a multifaceted overview of the issues for anyone studying the history and volatility of this movement.

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Gay and lesbian rights in the United States: a documentary history

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The author of the now classic Spirit and the Flesh, Williams (anthropology, history, & gender studies; Univ. of Southern California) has joined with Retter, an accomplished lesbian archivist, to ... Read full review


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About the author (2003)

WALTER L. WILLIAMS is Professor of Anthropology and Gender Studies at the University of Southern California.

YOLANDA RETTER is staff librarian of the ONE/Gay and Lesbian Archives, Los Angeles.

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