- Pantheon Books
The Engagement: America's Quarter-Century Struggle Over Same-Sex Marriage
- Sasha Issenberg
- Pantheon Books
- Political Science > Civil Rights
On June 26, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that state bans on gay marriage were unconstitutional, making same-sex unions legal across the United States. But the road to that momentous decision was much longer than many know. In this definitive account, Sasha Issenberg vividly guides us through same-sex marriage's unexpected path from the unimaginable to the inevitable.
It is a story that begins in Hawaii in 1990, when a rivalry among local activists triggered a sequence of events that forced the state to justify excluding gay couples from marriage. In the White House, one president signed the Defense of Marriage Act, which elevated the matter to a national issue, and his successor tried to write it into the Constitution. Over 25 years, the debate played out across the country, from the first legal same-sex weddings in Massachusetts and the epic face-off over California's Proposition 8, and, finally, to the landmark Supreme Court decisions of United States v. Windsor and Obergefell v. Hodges. From churches to hedge funds, no corner of American life went untouched.
This richly detailed narrative follows the coast-to-coast conflict through courtrooms and war rooms, bedrooms and boardrooms, to shed light on every aspect of a political and legal controversy that divided Americans like no other. Following a cast of characters that includes those who sought their own right to wed, those who fought to protect the traditional definition of marriage, and those who changed their minds about it, The Engagement is certain to become a seminal book on the modern culture wars.
Political journalist Sasha Issenberg will be in residence as a Fellow in the Center for Civil Society in the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs and the UCLA Department of Political Science for spring quarter 2014.
Mr. Issenberg is currently Washington correspondent for The Monocle, a magazine covering global affairs, business culture and design. He is the Author of The Victory Lab: the Secret Science of Winning Elections (Crown, 2012), which shows how political campaigns have been transformed by innovations in data, analytics, and behavioral psychology. He is also the author of The Sushi Economy: Globalization and the Making of Modern Delicacy (Gotham/Penguin, 2007), which describes how sushi went from a street snack to a major global commodity in less than a decade.
He is currently writing a book on marriage equality to be published by Crown/Random House, The Engagement: A Quarter-Century of Defending, Defining, and expanding Marriage in America. The Engagement will document the political, legal, and social history of the battles over gay marriage in the United States. Mr. Issenberg’s UCLA Fellowship is supported in part by a generous contribution from the David Bohnett Foundation.
Mr. Issenberg will co-teach a Fiat Lux undergraduate course, Victory Lab, Exploring the Mechanics of Modern Campaigns with Lynn Vavreck of the Political Science Department, who was instrumental in bringing Mr. Issenberg to UCLA. The Fiat Lux Course will meet every other Tuesday from 3:30 to 4:50 in room 1284 of the Public Affairs building. Luskin students are welcome to sit in on the class, which will also feature a number of prominent guest speakers from the political arena.
In addition he will lead brown bag lunch discussions for the Luskin community: Thursday, May 1, 12 pm “Why We Stopped Fighting over Gay Marriage” in 3333, and Wednesday, May 14, 12 pm for “Why the Democrats Are Better with Data” in Room 3343. He will also lead a Dean’s Salon in May on the topics of “Sushi, Campaign Strategy, and Civil Rights.”
Mr. Issenberg has held editorial and reporting positions for George, Philadelphia Magazine, The Boston Globe, and Slate. He has also published articles in a wide range of major publications including the New York Times Magazine, New York, The Atlantic and The Washington Monthly. He was a Fellow of the Institute of Politics at the Harvard Kennedy School Institute of Politics in 2013. He is a 2002 graduate of Swarthmore College.
Most recently, he published “America Exports Democracy, Just not the Way You Think,” in the March 14 Sunday New York Times Review. And in 2012 he held his own with Stephen Colbert.
Source: University of California Los Angeles
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