Legal scholars and practitioners concerned about the future of the law rather than merely its present know that successful strategies for advancing the law require not only a facility with the nuts and bolts of legal analysis but a sense of history and an awareness of the ways in which law is shaped by politics, public opinion, cultural norms, and moral and political philosophy.
Challenging those laws that discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation offers one of the most active and exciting undertakings for modern civil rights advocates. The losses are frustrating but the victories are exhilarating. The long-term outlook is favorable, because the pattern, which has emerged in recent years, is one of slow but steady progress toward full equal rights. The question is no longer whether equal rights will be achieved, but how, and when.
On any day when losses seem to temporarily outweigh victories, the weary advocate may benefit from the perspectives of history and social science. For a whirlwind tour of the history, sociology and politics of the gay civil rights movement that will put current events in their proper perspective, one might turn to the collection of essays titled The Politics of Gay Rights, the latest offering in the Chicago Series on Sexuality, History, and Society.
1 Nev. L.J. 441 (2001).
LaFrance, Mary, "Politics, Gay Rights, and the Light at the End of the Rainbow" (2001). Scholarly Works. Paper 454.