EssaysSex & Gender

Affirmative Consent and Neoliberal Bodies

The individual yes vs. the social no

I am writing this with great relief as the “crisis” of sexual assaults on college campuses in New York State has finally been addressed through affirmative consent, or “yes means yes” legislation from Governor Cuomo. Having worked for years as the director of a college-based women’s center, having helped write a university policy to address sexual assault on campus, and having counseled many students who were victims and at times …

READ MORE →
EssaysLiberal Democracy in QuestionSex & Gender

The Mastery of Non-Mastery

A report and reflections from Kobane

As I write, the plug is being pulled on the steady-state.

Violence and tragedy take revenge on humanity through routinization. Sooner or later we become immune.

But is there a reverse process, such as Freud writes about in Beyond the Pleasure Principle, where the nightmare recurs so as to provide the anxiety that would have …

READ MORE →
EssaysLiberal Democracy in QuestionSex & Gender

Faith in Marriage

Religion, heterosexuality, and the Obergefell decision

On June 26, 2015 the Supreme Court decision in Obergefell v. Hodges added the United States to a growing list of nations that provide equal marriage rights to same-sex couples. In an impassioned majority opinion by Justice Anthony Kennedy, Obergefell overturned remaining state bans on marriage for same-sex couples and required all states to recognize marriages legally performed elsewhere. (I am among the historians of marriage whose amici curiae brief …

READ MORE →
EssaysLiberal Democracy in QuestionSex & GenderThe Left

Ireland’s Victory for Marriage Equality, Continued

How Irish was it? And how much of a victory?

I very much liked Sinéad Kennedy’s piece on the yes to same-sex marriage in the Irish referendum. I share her sense that the 62% yes vote on May 22 was an impressive progressive victory. At the same time, I strongly agree with her statement, “As a political objective, same-sex marriage sits comfortable with prevailing neoliberal ideology.” I would like to add a few comments …

READ MORE →
CapitalismEssaysLiberal Democracy in QuestionSex & GenderThe Left

Another New Kind of Marriage

Has fiscal conservatism found a partner in gay rights?

On Friday, the Supreme Court of the United States issued a decision guaranteeing the right of same-sex couples to marry in every state in the nation. This landmark case concludes just as another marriage is crumbling: the marriage between anti-gay politics and fiscal conservatism.

Since the 1980s, Americans have grown accustomed to a national-level political discourse juxtaposing the buzzwords free marketssmall government, and family values ...

READ MORE →
Liberal Democracy in QuestionSex & Gender

Is marriage equality a conservative victory?

Obergefell and the Enduring Legacy of Family Values

Like many gay people, I found out about the Supreme Court’s ruling that same-sex marriage is a constitutional right through text messages from friends and family members. People from all across the country wrote or called to congratulate my husband and me, expressing optimism for what the court’s decision revealed about American acceptance. Having been legally married in both New York State and the United Kingdom for over two years, my husband and I both felt the gravity of the decision and the impact it would have on many people’s lives …

READ MORE →
EssaysRace/ismsSex & Gender

Dolezal and the Defense of the Community

Reflections on the unique difficulties of passing from white to black in America

READ MORE →
EssaysLiberal Democracy in QuestionSex & Gender

Ireland’s Victory for Marriage Equality

The birth of a new political imagination?

The Irish electorate’s recent resounding “yes” to the question of marriage equality for LGBT people (62% of the electorate, approximately 1.2 million, voted in favour the proposal) briefly turned the international spotlight on Ireland for reasons other than its imploding economic and banking system. Ireland is the first country in the world to legalise same-sex marriage by popular vote. This is a significant achievement in and of itself, made all the more remarkable by the fact that it occurred in a country that did not decriminalise (male) homosexual activity until 1993 (after it was compelled to by the European Court of Human Rights), and which only legalised divorce in 1995 by the narrowest of margins. The Irish and international media were quick to proclaim the referendum result a victory for the forces of social liberalisation that put Ireland at the “vanguard of social change” and a defeat for the Catholic Church and its once dominant hegemonic position in Irish society. …

READ MORE →