Marriage Equality From Outlaws to In-Laws William N. Eskridge, Christopher R. Riano

Publication date:
18 Aug 2020
Yale University Press
1040 pages: 235 x 156 x 64mm
24 b-w illus.
Sales territories:

The definitive history of the marriage equality debate in the United States

As a legal scholar who first argued in the early 1990s for a right to gay marriage, William N. Eskridge Jr. has been on the front lines of the debate over same‑sex marriage for decades. In this book, Eskridge and his coauthor, Christopher R. Riano, offer a panoramic and definitive history of America’s marriage equality debate. The authors explore the deeply religious, rabidly political, frequently administrative, and pervasively constitutional features of the debate and consider all angles of its dramatic history. While giving a full account of the legal and political issues, the authors never lose sight of the personal stories of the people involved, or of the central place the right to marry holds in a person’s ability to enjoy the dignity of full citizenship. This is not a triumphalist or one‑sided book but a thoughtful history of how the nation wrestled with an important question of moral and legal equality.

William N. Eskridge Jr. is the John A. Garver Professor of Jurisprudence at Yale Law School. Christopher R. Riano is the executive director of the Center for Civic Education and a lecturer in constitutional law and government at Columbia University.

“A comprehensive, thought-provoking, and compelling account of the fight for marriage equality in the United States. The authors deftly outline the history and ultimate downfall of marriage exclusion policies. A must read!”—Alphonso David, President of the Human Rights Campaign

"An extraordinary account of the nation’s awakening to LGBTQ people and the struggle for marriage equality.  With portraits of participants on both sides, strategic revelations, and accessible analysis covering decades, we see how change happens and the challenges ahead."—Mary Bonauto, attorney at GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders

“This monumental account of all aspects of the marriage equality movement—judicial, legislative, political, and social—is scholarly while intensely personal, informed by interviews of committed couples, legislators, lawyers, judges.”—Ronald M. George, Chief Justice of California (1996-2011)

"Eskridge and Riano provide the definitive account of one of the most important transformations in American history: how same-sex marriage became legal in the USA. Their insightful report is a classic."—Lynn D. Wardle, Professor of Law Emeritus, Brigham Young University

"To win the freedom to marry, we needed a shared strategy, a sustained campaign, and a movement of many methodologies and players. Bursting with colorful unearthed details and kaleidoscopic, often divergent perspectives, Marriage Equality: From Outlaws to In-Laws richly portrays the multiplicity within that movement and the epic transformation we achieved in hearts and minds—and then the law."—Evan Wolfson, founder, Freedom to Marry

"Meticulously researched and compulsively readable, Marriage Equality: From Outlaws to In-Laws sketches the legal arc of the marriage equality debate without sacrificing the human elements that undergirded the movement.  Eskridge and Riano have created an invaluable resource for scholars of constitutional law, family law, and social movements."—Melissa Murray, Frederick I. and Grace Stokes Professor of Law, NYU School of Law

"Magnanimity in victory is an even rarer virtue than generosity across differences, and the authors of this lively history have both. Whether you enthusiastically endorse gay marriage or, like me, do not, you will learn a great deal from this fine book."—Maggie Gallagher, author of Debating Same-Sex Marriage