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Sexual Orientation and the Law
Introduction to researching issues of sexual orientation and gender and the law.
The act of reproduction, and its variants, never change much, but our ideas about the meaning of sex are in constant flux. Switch a decade, cross a border, or traverse class lines and the harmless pleasures of one group become the gravest crimes in another. Combining meticulous research and lively storytelling, The Boundaries of Desire traces the fast-moving bloodsport of sex law over the past century, and challenges our most cherished notions about family, power, gender, and identity. Starting when courts censored birth control information as pornography and let men rape their wives, and continuing through the "sexual revolution” and into the present day (when rape, gay rights, sex trafficking, and sex on the internet saturate the news), Berkowitz shows how the law has remained out of synch with the convulsive changes in sexual morality. By focusing on the stories of real people, Berkowitz adds a compelling human element to what might otherwise be faceless legal battles. The law is made by people, after all, and nothing sparks intolerance - on the left and right -- more than sex. Ultimately, Berkowitz shows the emptiness of sanctimonious condemnation, and argues that sexual questions are too subtle and volatile for simple, catch-all solutions.
No one could have predicted that the night of September 17, 1998, would be anything but routine in Houston, Texas. Even the call to police that a black man was "going crazy with a gun" was hardly unusual in this urban setting. Nobody could have imagined that the arrest of two men for a minor criminal offense would reverberate in American constitutional law, exposing a deep malignity in our judicial system and challenging the traditional conception of what makes a family.
"Trivial Complaints" explores the historical relationship between privacy and domestic violence through an analysis of litigation and activism. The state has traditionally hesitated in responding to domestic violence, characterizing it as a "private" family matter. The discourse of privacy incorporates presumptions about race, class, and sexuality, and this volume examines the ramifications of such assumptions for victims and activists. Kirsten S. Rambo begins with an analysis of courts' and activists' responses to domestic violence during the late nineteenth century and continues through to the late twentieth century, when the modern battered women's movement emerged on the heels of the battle to secure abortion rights. Rambo explores the seemingly contradictory yet often complementary ways in which the discourse of privacy has been shaped by both movements seeking justice for women. She further examines concepts of privacy as applied to same-sex relationships and domestic violence, and ultimately considers alternative models of privacy that are egalitarian and rooted in empowerment.
This text addresses the following two questions: "What kinds of problems can the law solve?" and "What kinds of problems does the law create?" Using these questions as starting points, Meier and Geis evenhandedly explore the role and function of law relating to six major issues that often divide Americans today: prostitution, drug use, homosexuality, abortion, pornography, and gambling. Statutes and public opinion have shifted dramatically over recent decades in regard to these behaviors. The book details these developments and offers explanations of why they have occurred. Some people view all or some of these behaviors as acts that ought to be permitted, as part of individual freedom. Others find one, some, or all of them to be genuine threats to the country's social and moral fiber and believe that they ought to be criminalized. Still others maintain that action ought to be taken to limit some of the behaviors, but that using the criminal justice system is not the best way to proceed. Meier and Geis' provocative book offers sophisticated, in-depth discussions of these issues, then reviews the conflicting opinions about the proper role of criminal law in dealing with them. It is written in straightforward, jargon-free language, providing an ideal background for exploring the facts and views regarding what are often contentious concerns. Criminal Justice and Moral Issues increases student understanding through the abundant use of relevant illustrations, examples, and case studies.
This comprehensive resource book examines a broad range of issues that confront the victims of same-sex domestic violence and those who offer them services. Chapters include topics of practical concern, HIV, same-sex domestic violence, establishing safe-home networks for battered gay men, courtroom advocacy, coalition building and dating violence prevention.