Dishonorable Passions: Sodomy Laws in America, 1861-2003 by William N. Eskridge
- Publisher: Viking Adult; 1st edition (May 1, 2008)
- Hardcover: 528 pages
- ISBN-10: 0670018627
- Language: English
A fascinating one-of-a-kind history of the governments regulation of sexual behavior From the Pentagon to the wedding chapel, there are few issues more controversial today than gay rights. As William Eskridge persuasively demonstrates in Dishonorable Passions , there is nothing new about this political and legal obsession. The American colonies and the early states prohibited sodomy as the crime against nature, but rarely punished such conduct if it took place behind closed doors. By the twentieth century, Americas emerging regulatory state targeted degenerates and (later) homosexuals. The witch hunts of the McCarthy era caught very few Communists but ruined the lives of thousands of homosexuals. The nations sexual revolution of the 1960s fueled a social movement of people seeking repeal of sodomy laws, but it was not until the Supreme Courts decision in Lawrence v. Texas (2003) that private sex between consenting adults was decriminalized. With dramatic stories of both the hunted (Walt Whitman and Margaret Mead) and the hunters (Earl Warren and J. Edgar Hoover), Dishonorable Passions reveals how American sodomy laws affected the lives of both homosexual and heterosexual Americans. Certain to provoke heated debate, Dishonorable Passions is a must-read for anyone interested in the history of sexuality and its regulation in the United States.
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