From the Closet to the Altar: Courts, Backlash and the Struggle for Same-Sex Marriage


Over the last 20 years, Americans have discussed, debated, fought over and been divided by the issue of same-sex marriage. The arguments in those two decades haven’t changed very much. Supporters of same-sex marriage see it as a civil rights issue, and that any limits on the ability of two consenting adults to wed are manifestly unfair. Opponents argue the state has always set some measure of restriction on marriage, and fear a slippery slope towards further changes to what they see as ‘traditional’ marriage. What has changed, in recent years, is public opinion, which has shifted from majority opposition to majority approval. This November, voters in Maine, Maryland, and Washington voted in support of same-sex marriage. It's the first time such rights have been affirmed directly by voters.

On Tuesday's Focus, we’ll examine the history and politics of same-sex marriage with author and historian Michael Klarman. In his book From the Closet to the Altar, Klarman examines how the issue has been dealt with by the courts, and the political backlash of decisions both for and against same-sex marriage.