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The Backlash Thesis and Same-Sex Marriage: Learning from Brown v. Board of Education and its Aftermath

48 Pages Posted: 16 May 2006  

Carlos A. Ball

Rutgers Law School

Abstract

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.

Keywords: gay rights, same-sex marriage, backlash

Suggested Citation

Ball, Carlos A., The Backlash Thesis and Same-Sex Marriage: Learning from Brown v. Board of Education and its Aftermath. William & Mary Bill of Rights Journal, Vol. 14, 2006. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=901238

Carlos A. Ball (Contact Author)

Rutgers Law School ( email )

NJ
United States
973-353-3008 (Phone)

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