The Backlash Thesis and Same-Sex Marriage: Learning from Brown v. Board of Education and its Aftermath
Carlos A. Ball
Rutgers Law School
William & Mary Bill of Rights Journal, Vol. 14, 2006
The backlash that followed the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court's opinion in Goodridge v. Department of Public Health has created considerable anxiety within the gay rights movement as many have questioned whether the same-sex marriage litigation has backfired by encouraging social conservatives to flex their political muscles to the detriment of lesbians and gay men. I argue in this article that despite the harmful backlash experienced by the gay rights movement following marriage cases such as Goodridge, lesbians and gay men are nonetheless better off as a result of those cases. The gains from the litigation, in other words, have so far outweighed the losses. In defending the decision to litigate cases such as Goodridge, I explore the similarities between the backlash that followed that case and that which followed Brown v. Board of Education.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 48
Keywords: gay rights, same-sex marriage, backlash
Date posted: May 16, 2006