Forcing the Spring: Inside the Fight for Marriage Equality

Forcing the Spring: Inside the Fight for Marriage Equality

Jo Becker

Language: English

Pages: 480

ISBN: 1594204446

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

A New York Times Notable Book of the Year

A Washington Post Best Book of the Year (Nonfiction)

A Kirkus Best Book of the Year

[A] riveting legal drama, a snapshot in time, when the gay rights movement altered course and public opinion shifted with the speed of a bullet train...Becker's most remarkable accomplishment is to weave a spellbinder of a tale that, despite a finale reported around the world, manages to keep readers gripped until the very end.”-The Washington Post

A tour de force of groundbreaking reportage by Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Jo Becker, Forcing the Spring is the definitive account of five remarkable years in American civil rights history: when the United States experienced a tectonic shift on the issue of marriage equality. Beginning with the historical legal challenge of California's ban on same-sex marriage, Becker expands the scope to encompass all aspects of this momentous struggle, offering a gripping behind-the-scenes narrative told with the lightning pace of the greatest legal thrillers.

For nearly five years, Becker was given free rein in the legal and political war rooms where the strategy of marriage equality was plotted. She takes us inside the remarkable campaign that rebranded a movement; into the Oval Office where the president and his advisors debated how to respond to a fast-changing political landscape; into the chambers of the federal judges who decided that today's bans on same-sex marriage were no more constitutional than previous century's bans on interracial marriage; and into the mindsets of the Supreme Court judges who decided the California case and will likely soon decide the issue for the country at large. From the state-by state efforts to win marriage equality at the ballot box to the landmark Supreme Court case that struck down a law that banned legally married gay and lesbian couples from receiving federal benefits, Becker weaves together the political and legal forces that reshaped a nation.

Forcing the Spring begins with California's controversial ballot initiative Proposition 8, which banned gay men and lesbians from marrying the person they loved. This electoral defeat galvanized an improbable alliance of opponents to the ban, with political operatives and Hollywood royalty enlisting attorneys Ted Olson and David Boies—the opposing counsels in the Supreme Court’s Bush v. Gore case—to join together in a unique bipartisan challenge to the political status quo. Despite initial opposition from the gay rights establishment, the case against Proposition 8 would ultimately force the issue of marriage equality all the way to the Supreme Court, transforming same-sex marriage from a partisan issue into a modern crisis of civil rights.
Shuttling between the twin American power centers of Hollywood and Washington—and based on access to all the key players in the Justice Department and the White House—Becker offers insider coverage on the true story of how President Obama “evolved” to embrace marriage equality. What starts out as a tale of an epic legal battle grows into the story of the evolution of a country. Becker shows how the country reexamined its opinions on same-sex marriage, an issue that raced along with a snowballing velocity which astounded veteran political operatives. Here is the ringside account of this unprecedented change, the fastest shift in public opinion ever seen in modern American politics.

Clear-eyed and even-handed, Forcing the Spring is political and legal journalism at its finest, offering an unvarnished perspective on the extraordinary transformation of America and an inside look into the fight to win the rights of marriage and full citizenship for all.

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was largely forgotten. An elderly lady in a straw boater hat handed out cups of water. Kids waved bubble wands. Chad, who badly wanted children of his own someday, peeked back at Ilaria. “I just want to take her off the parade route and go hang out somewhere,” he said. Here and there, a reveler could be spotted in an outlandish outfit, but overall the crowd was much tamer than either Chad or Adam had expected. “Maybe because marriage is a more serious thing to celebrate,” Chad said. “Or, now

same-sex marriage made it inevitable. A massive survey of five thousand Republican and Republican-leaning independent voters found that a majority actually supported some form of legal recognition of gay relationships. Those in favor of calling that recognition marriage, while still a minority, felt more strongly about the issue than those opposed. Social issues like gay marriage simply were not a top priority for the vast majority of Repbulicans heading into the 2012 elections, the data showed,

first lady (FLOTUS): Suggested venue: Should come up as a question in a larger interview with both POTUS and FLOTUS together. Interviewer should be a woman. All 3 should be sitting. Soft lighting Overall messages: 1. Our family, like a lot of others, have talked about this and concluded it is wrong for the government to treat some of its citizens differently because of who they love. 2. We should be encouraging more people to make lifelong commitments to each other, particularly in

the coat-check room, “if we lose, hopefully people will remember the party.” THIRTY-EIGHT “SKIM MILK MARRIAGES” Robbie Kaplan was not known for having a Zen personality. But the typically frenetic lawyer took her seat at the counsel table for her first Supreme Court argument feeling refreshed and unusually relaxed. Weeks earlier, she had attended an oral argument, just to watch how the justices interacted with each other and the lawyers before them. She’d been sitting behind two women

overturn the law. Their stake was clear-cut and undisputed: Kris and Sandy and Jeff and Paul wanted to marry, and Proposition 8 barred them from doing so. But once the plaintiffs prevailed in Judge Walker’s court, the burden shifted to the party seeking to overturn that decision. The state clearly had standing to defend a law passed by its citizens. But did Cooper’s clients? Before the trial had even begun, some of the younger members of the Gibson Dunn appellate team had concluded that Cooper’s

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