CREATED EQUAL by Michael Nava


Why Gay Rights Matter to America
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 This slender volume is a cogently argued call for all Americans to support the struggle of gay and lesbian Americans for equal rights under the law. The pairing of lawyer/novelist Nava (The Hidden Law, 1992, etc.), and Dawidoff, a historian (Claremont Graduate School), is a fortuitous one. The book opens with a brief glimpse of two weeks of demonstrations that took place in 1991 in Los Angeles in protest of California Governor Pete Wilson's veto of a gay-rights bill. The authors then state a series of basic premises that undergird the book's thesis that gay rights are in the best interest of all Americans. They proceed to delineate an America in which there is a rising tide of violence against gays and lesbians and in which the basic civil rights of gays and lesbians are often unprotected in the courts. Systematically, they lay out the causes of legalized homophobia and the manner in which the religious Right, playing on public fear of homosexuality, has spearheaded an attack on basic constitutional guarantees of privacy and equal protection under the law. Although their argument is ultimately not based on either of two current theories of the formation of sexual orientation--choice and genetic determinism--Nava and Dawidoff are emphatically on the side of the latter. Finally, they state their own agenda: legalized same-sex marriage, the right to serve in the armed forces, the right to privacy, and an end to discrimination in housing and employment. A thoughtful and passionate essay whose message is clear: ``Everyone's freedom suffers when individual liberty is denied to a class of citizens.''

Pub Date: May 1st, 1994
ISBN: 0-312-10443-X
Page count: 192pp
Publisher: St. Martin's
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1st, 1994


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