Equal Rites | Social Science Reviews, May 1, 2016

Cenziper, Debbie & Jim Obergefell. Love Wins: The Lovers and Lawyers Who Fought the Landmark Case for Marriage Equality. Morrow. Jun. 2016. 304p. ISBN 9780062456083. $27.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062456090. LAW

love winsAuthor Obergefell and his partner, John Arthur, married in Maryland in July 2013. On October 22, 2013, Arthur died of ALS, a progressive neurodegenerative disease. The couple’s home state of Ohio did not recognize their marriage, and Arthur’s death certificate listed him with no surviving spouse. This book begins with the story of Obergefell’s fight to amend his husband’s death certificate and evolves into an account of gay couples, their children, and their fight for recognition. Cenziper, a Pulitzer Prize–winning investigative reporter for the Washington Post, wrote this work with Obergefell. Together, they do a thorough job of exploring the history of discrimination against LGBT Americans that led to the landmark 2015 Supreme Court decision legalizing gay marriage in Obergefell v. Hodges. The book also tells of the plaintiffs, the legal teams on both sides, and the circumstances that brought them to the case. While the legal strategies of the case are fully explored, the personal lives of the participants are the narrative’s draw. ­VERDICT A fascinating look at the fight for gay marriage and at the experiences of gay couples and families. Recommended for public libraries. [See Prepub Alert, 12/14/15.]—Becky ­Kennedy, Atlanta-Fulton P.L.

Love Unites Us: Winning the Freedom To Marry in America. New Pr. Jun. 2016. 368p. ed. by Kevin M. Cathcart & Leslie J. Gabel-Brett. photos. notes. index. ISBN 9781595585509. $27.95; ebk. ISBN 9781620971772. LAW

love unites usCoeditors Cathcart (executive director, Lambda Legal) and Gabel-Brett (director of education & public affairs, Lambda Legal) have compiled a unique anthology documenting the road to marriage equality in the United States. Organized into seven sections, beginning with an account of the earliest marriage cases (1970–74) and ending with a survey of religious freedom challenges to LGBT rights protections, the book situates the recent Supreme Court victories in United States v. Windsor and Obergefell v. Hodges within the context of numerous state-level legal suits, legislative victories, and shifts in public opinion. Within each section, movement lawyers and activists bear first-person witness to these campaigns. Particularly important, in this victory-lap moment for LGBT visibility and acceptance, is the inclusion of marriage contrarians who question the ultimate benefit of focusing advocacy efforts on marriage-based family recognition. The anthology format is both a strength and weakness, providing a robustly decentralized view of the nationwide campaign while at times threatening to overwhelm with play-by-play accounts of individual cases. VERDICT Providing insider perspectives on the legal-political strategy that brought marriage equality to the United States, this will be read by those with a legal and activist interest in LGBT rights issues.—Anna J. Clutterbuck-Cook, ­Massachusetts Historical Soc. Lib., Boston

This article was published in Library Journal's May 1, 2016 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.