Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Grisinger on Turk, Gay Rights in the Workplace

JOTWELL's Legal History Section has posted some new material: Joanna Grisinger (Northwestern University) recommends Katherine Turk's "'Our Militancy is in Our Openness': Gay Employment Rights Activism in California and the Question of Sexual Orientation in Sex Equality Law," which appeared in Volume 31 of the Law & History Review (2013). Here's the first paragraph of Grisinger's review:
Katherine Turk’s recent article, ‘Our Militancy is in Our Openness’: Gay Employment Rights Activism in California and the Question of Sexual Orientation in Sex Equality Law, offers a deeply researched history of gay rights activism in California—“the epicenter of the gay employment rights movement” (P. 426)—that engages important questions about the benefits and limits of different legal strategies. In this detailed local history of the gay employment rights movement, Turk discusses the work of a number of advocacy organizations in the state—including the ACLU of Southern California, the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center, the Metropolitan Community Church, the Society for International Rights, the Committee for Homosexual Freedom, the Committee on Rights within the Gay Community, and the National Gay Rights Association—through which activists pressed for equal rights in the workplace. Although this movement was dominated by gay men, Turk makes clear that it is not a story of a fractured movement. Instead, activists throughout the gay community understood the prosaic importance of employment rights, and the employment nondiscrimination litigation at the center of her narrative “embodied some of the most universal and consistent claims at the heart of the modern gay rights movement.” (P. 428.)
Read on here.

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