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Flagrant Conduct: The Story of Lawrence V. Texasby Dale A Carpenter
Synopses & Reviews
No one could have predicted that the night of September 17, 1998, would be anything but routine in Houston, Texas. Even the call to police that a black man was "going crazy with a gun" was hardly unusual in this urban setting. Nobody could have imagined that the arrest of two men for a minor criminal offense would reverberate in American constitutional law, exposing a deep malignity in our judicial system and challenging the traditional conception of what makes a family. Indeed, when Harris County sheriff's deputies entered the second-floor apartment, there was no gun. Instead, they reported that they had walked in on John Lawrence and Tyron Garner having sex in Lawrence's bedroom. So begins Dale Carpenter's "gripping and brilliantly researched" , a work nine years in the making that transforms our understanding of what we thought we knew about , the landmark Supreme Court decision of 2003 that invalidated America's sodomy laws. Drawing on dozens of interviews, Carpenter has taken on the "gargantuan" task of extracting the truth about the case, analyzing the claims of virtually every person involved. Carpenter first introduces us to the interracial defendants themselves, who were hardly prepared "for the strike of lightning" that would upend their lives, and then to the Harris County arresting officers, including a sheriff's deputy who claimed he had "looked eye to eye" in the faces of the men as they allegedly fornicated. Carpenter skillfully navigates Houston's complex gay world of the late 1990s, where a group of activists and court officers, some of them closeted themselves, refused to bury what initially seemed to be a minor arrest. The author charts not only the careful legal strategy that Lambda Legal attorneys adopted to make the case compatible to a conservative Supreme Court but also the miscalculations of the Houston prosecutors who assumed that the nation's extant sodomy laws would be upheld. Masterfully reenacting the arguments that riveted spectators and Justices alike in 2003, then reaches a point where legal history becomes literature, animating a Supreme Court decision as few writers have done. In situating within the larger framework of America's four-century persecution of gay men and lesbians, compellingly demonstrates that gay history is an integral part of our national civil rights story.
"In a presidential election year when the debate over gay marriage rages, Carpenter returns to the landmark 2003 Supreme Court case Lawrence v. Texas which overturned state laws criminalizing consensual homosexual sex. Carpenter's probing research leads him to question the basic facts of the case: that in Houston in 1998, John Lawrence and Tyron Garner were engaged in anal sex when sheriff's deputies entered Lawrence's apartment, ostensibly looking for an armed man. Carpenter lays out the case's background, including the machismo that dominated the sheriff's office and Texas's history of antigay laws. The story of this case is many-layered, from the stakes for the litigants to the cultural crosscurrents and often shifting societal values; strategic legal gamesmanship; and the prejudices and predilections of Supreme Court justices. Carpenter, professor of civil rights and civil liberty law at the University of Minnesota, integrates all of these parallel parts for a fully rounded account that captures the human and legal dimensions of this groundbreaking case. In his view of the case's significance: 'It was a judgment that gay sex, too, might lead... lasting relationships.' Carpenter presents an engrossing depiction of a pivotal case in 21st-century American jurisprudence. 8 pages of illus. Agent: ." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
One of the most groundbreaking works of gay history since And the Band Played On and Gay New York.
A 2012 Notable Book "A real-life detective story that reveals the drama behind the scenes of a great Supreme Court victory for human rights." --Linda Greenhouse
A 2012 New York Times Notable Book
"A real-life detective story that reveals the drama behind the scenes of a great Supreme Court victory for human rights." —Linda Greenhouse
One of the most prominent voices on LGBT rights boldly confronts the forces still standing in the way of full equality, and charts a course toward victory.
From the author of the groundbreaking bestseller Queer in America, a myth-shattering look at the present and future of gay rights
Marriage equality has surged across the country. Closet doors have burst open in business, entertainment, and even major league sports. But as longtime advocate Michelangelo Signorile argues in his most provocative book yet, the excitement of such breathless change makes this moment more dangerous than ever. Puncturing the illusion that victory is now inevitable, Signorile marshals stinging evidence that an age-old hatred, homophobia, is still a basic fact of American life. He exposes the bigotry of the brewing religious conservative backlash against LGBT rights and challenges the complacency and hypocrisy of supposed allies in Washington, the media, and Hollywood.
Not just a wake-up call, It's Not Over is also a battle plan for the fights to come in the march toward equality. Signorile tells the stories of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Americans who have refused to be merely tolerated, or worse, and are demanding full acceptance. And he documents signs of hope in schools and communities finding new ways to combat ignorance, bullying, and fear. Urgent and empowering, It's Not Over is a necessary book from one of our most electrifying voices.
One of the most prominent voices on politics and gay civil rights boldly confronts the hidden forces still standing in the way of full equality, and charts a hopeful course toward victory.
Marriage equality is gaining ground in dozens of states. The NFL has drafted its first openly gay player. For many Americans, it can start to feel as if the fight has been won. But as longtime advocate Michelangelo Signorile argues in this provocative and timely book, these hard-won successes are only part of the picture. Signorile dissects Washington, the entertainment industry, and the media to reveal the hidden obstacles that still stand in the way of progress, and documents signs of hope in schools and communities across the country. Telling the stories of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Americans who still face discrimination in surprising and often subtle ways—and who are finding the strength to fight back—Signorile reports from the front lines of a battle that has entered a new phase, with new priorities, new rules, and new dangers.
About the Author
Dale Carpenter is the Earl R. Larson Professor of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties Law at the University of Minnesota Law School. He lives in Minneapolis.
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