From the Closet to the Courtroom: Five LGBT Rights Lawsuits that Have Changed Our Nation

Carlos A. Ball, FROM THE CLOSET TO THE COURTROOM: FIVE LGBT RIGHTS LAWSUITS THAT HAVE CHANGED OUR NATION, Beacon Press, Forthcoming

Rutgers School of Law-Newark Research Paper No. 078

14 Pages Posted: 17 Jul 2010  

Carlos A. Ball

Rutgers Law School

Date Written: July 16, 2010

Abstract

During the second half of the twentieth century, social movements in the United States increasingly turned to the courts to advance their causes. The LGBT rights movement has been no exception. Since the late 1970s, that movement and its lawyers have aggressively pursued a judicial strategy aimed at challenging laws and policies that discriminate against LGBT people.

My book "From The Closet to the Courtroom: Five LGBT Rights Lawsuits That Have Changed Our Nation" (Beacon Press, 2010) tells the human and legal stories behind these leading gay rights cases: Braschi v. Stahl Associates (1989); Nabozny v. Podlesny (1996); Romer v. Evans (1996); Baehr v. Lewin (1993); and Lawrence v. Texas (2003).

I argue in my book that these five lawsuits have played a crucial role in creating the necessary social and political conditions that today provide LGBT people with the opportunity to lead lives that are both open and dignified. In doing so, the lawsuits have compelled the country to account for the interests and hopes of LGBT people.

A key part of the story that I tell in my book is played by LGBT rights attorneys. Over the last twenty years, no group of lawyers has helped to transform the United States more than LGBT rights attorneys, and yet their collective accomplishments have received relatively little attention. My book seeks to remedy that by exploring how a band of largely unheralded civil rights lawyers have attained remarkable legal victories through skill, creativity, and perseverance.

Those interested in reading the Introduction to the book can download this document.

Keywords: Gay Rights, LGBT Rights, Gay Rights Lawyers, Cause Lawyering, Social Movements, Same-Sex Marriage, Sodomy Laws, Antigay Harassment

Suggested Citation

Ball, Carlos A., From the Closet to the Courtroom: Five LGBT Rights Lawsuits that Have Changed Our Nation (July 16, 2010). Carlos A. Ball, FROM THE CLOSET TO THE COURTROOM: FIVE LGBT RIGHTS LAWSUITS THAT HAVE CHANGED OUR NATION, Beacon Press, Forthcoming ; Rutgers School of Law-Newark Research Paper No. 078. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1641179

Carlos A. Ball (Contact Author)

Rutgers Law School ( email )

NJ
United States
973-353-3008 (Phone)

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