Lawyering for Marriage Equality
Scott L. Cummings
University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - School of Law
University of California, Irvine School of Law
May 11, 2010
UCLA Law Review, Vol. 57, p. 1235, 2010
Loyola-LA Legal Studies Paper No. 2010-12
NYLS Clinical Research Institute Paper No. 09-10-31
UCLA School of Law Research Paper No. 10-09
Critics of litigation seeking to establish the right of same-sex couples to marry argue that it has produced a backlash undercutting the movement for marriage equality. In this account, movement lawyers emerge as agents of backlash: naively turning to the courts ahead of public opinion, ignoring more productive political alternatives, and ultimately hurting the very cause they purport to advance by securing a court victory that mobilizes opponents to repeal it. This Article challenges the backlash thesis through a close analysis of the California case, which contradicts the portrait of movement lawyers as unsophisticated rights crusaders and casts doubt on the causal claim that court decisions upholding same-sex couples’ right to marry have harmed the movement.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 98
Keywords: Marriage equality movement in California, analysis of 'backlash' theory, lawyers as activists, legislative historyAccepted Paper Series
Date posted: May 12, 2010 ; Last revised: March 9, 2011
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