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Back to the Future: Uses of History in Newspapers and Judicial Records on Marriage Equality
Unformatted Document Text:  30 Bowers v. Hardwick, 478 U.S. 186 (1986). 31 Lawrence v. Texas, 539 U.S. 558 (2003). 32 See Primus, supra note 14, at 183. 33 George Chauncey, How History Mattered: Sodomy Law and Marriage Reform in the United States, 20 P UBLIC C ULTURE 1 (2008). 34 Ira Mark Ellman, Paul Kurtz, Lois Weithorn, Brian Bix, Karen Czapansky, & Maxine Eichner, Chapter 2: Marriage Law, in F AMILY L AW : C ASES , T EXTS , P ROBLEMS , F IFTH E DITION 165 (2010); See P EGGY P ASCOE , W HAT C OMES N ATURALLY : M ISCEGENATION L AW AND THE M AKING OF R ACE IN A MERICA 4 (2009). 35 See Chemerinsky, supra note 9. 36 Providing contextualized coverage of events is one of the responsibilities of the press articulated by the 1947 Hutchins Commission on Freedom of Press. Betty Winfield & Jeongsub Lim, An Intelligent Account of the Day’s Events in a Context Which Gives Them Meaning: Historical Referents in European and North American Immigration News Stories, in F REEDOM F IGHTER : A F ESTSCHRIFT H ONORING J OHN C. M ERRILL ON H IS S IX D ECADES OF S ERVICE TO J OURNALISM E DUCATION 131 (Donald Hatley & Paula Furr eds., 2007). 37 See Winfield, Leshner, & Kononova supra note 11, at 3. 38 See Winfield, Friedman, & Trisnadi, supra note 8, at 136. MacMillan identified a fourth use, that history can enforce “an imagined community.” Enforcing an imagined community occurs when a person or group seeks to discover or create a collective identity that reaches backward or forward in time. This fourth use is important to recognize in the context of the gay rights movement and marriage discourse, but for the purposes of this study will be seen as another kind of contextualizing use of history. See M AC M ILLAN , supra note 20, at 58. 39 M ICHAEL S CHUDSON , W ATERGATE IN A MERICAN M EMORY : H OW W E R EMEMBER , F ORGET , AND R ECONSTRUCT THE P AST 206 (1992), at 213. 40 Id. 41 See M AC M ILLAN , supra note 20, at 29, 60. 42 R ICHARD N EUSTADT AND E RNEST M AY , T HINKING IN T IME : T HE U SES OF H ISTORY FOR D ECISION -M AKERS 9 (1986). See Garcia, supra note 16, at 30-31. 43 See Garcia, supra note 16, at 32. 44 A LLENE P HY -O LSEN , H ISTORICAL G UIDES TO C ONTROVERSIAL I SSUES IN A MERICA : S AME - SEX M ARRIAGE 75 (2006). 45 S TEPHANIE C OONTZ , M ARRIAGE , A H ISTORY 274 (2005); See G EORGE C HAUNCEY , W HY M ARRIAGE ? T HE H ISTORY S HAPING T ODAY ’ S D EBATE O VER G AY E QUALITY 22 ( 2004). 46 See C OONTZ , supra note 45, at 274. 47 See C HAUNCEY , supra note 45, at 52. Coontz also countered popular conceptions of traditional marriage by citing that, historically, there have been more polygynous (multi-partner, non-marital) than monogamous relationships. The trend toward monogamous marriage, she wrote, is a recent historical development. C OONTZ , supra note 62, at 10. 48 See Eskridge, supra note 10, at 1822; Jennifer Earl, The Gay 90s? Models of Legal Decision-Making, Change, and History, 16 J OURNAL OF H ISTORICAL S OCIOLOGY 115 (2003). 49 Adams v. Howerton, 486 F.Supp. 1119 (9th Cir. 1980). 50 See Earl, supra note 70, at 48; Adams v. Howerton, supra note 49, at 1123. 51 Marcia Coyle, The first case, 40 years on, T HE N ATIONAL L AW J OURNAL , Aug. 23, 2010, available at http://www.law.com/jsp/nlj/PubArticleNLJ.jsp?id=1202470861873&slreturn=1&hbxlogin=1 . 52 Michael Klarman, The civil rights trap; Presidents who have gotten too far ahead of public opinion have paid a substantial price, L.A. T IMES , Sept. 19, 2010, at A36. 53 Jones v. Hallahan, 501 S.W.2d. 588, 589 (Ky. 1973). 54 Brandon L. H. Aultman, From Hawaii to Massachusetts: The Politics, Interest and Strategy of the Same-Sex Marriage Movement (paper presented at the Northeastern Political Science Association, Boston, MA, Nov.13-15, 2008) (on file with the author). 55 Baehr v. Lewin, 852 P.2d 44 (Haw. 1993). 56 Carey Goldberg, HAWAII JUDGE ENDS GAY-MARRIAGE BAN, N.Y. T IMES , Dec. 4, 1996, at A1. The Hawaii state legislature also preserved the traditional ideal by passing a statute to limit marriage to heterosexual couples. The statute was challenged in 1998 with a new state defendant in Baehr v. Miike, 950 P.2d 1234 (Haw. 1996). Baehr v. Miike marked the first time that organized interest groups converged to support litigation. See Aultman, supra note 50. Among these groups were Lambda Legal, Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders (GLAD), Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the National Center for Lesbian Rights, and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (NGLTF). Id. at 19-21. Before the issue was settled in court, however, the people of Hawaii passed by ballot measure a constitutional amendment limiting marriage to heterosexual couples. See Eskridge, supra note 13, at 1819. 57 As of September 2010, the National Conference of State Legislatures reported that 17 states and Washington, D.C., issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, recognize marriage licenses issued by other states, or allow civil unions or domestic partnerships, available at http://www.ncsl.org/default.aspx?tabid=16430. 58 R ODGER S TREITMATTER , F ROM ‘P ERVERTS ’ TO ‘F AB F IVE ’: T HE M EDIA ’ S C HANGING D EPICTION OF G AY M EN AND L ESBIANS 161 (2009), 161-62. The Chronicle was just one of many reputable newspapers, including the Boston Globe and the New York Times, to go beyond standard journalistic neutrality to report on the positive characteristics of same-sex couples to implicitly or explicitly support marriage equality. Streitmatter noted that the Washington Post declared,

Authors: Li, Anqi.
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background image
30
 Bowers v. Hardwick, 478 U.S. 186 (1986).
31
 Lawrence v. Texas, 539 U.S. 558 (2003).
32
 See Primus, supra note 14, at 183.
33
 George Chauncey, How History Mattered: Sodomy Law and Marriage Reform in the United States, 20 
P
UBLIC
 C
ULTURE
 1 (2008).
34
 Ira Mark Ellman, Paul Kurtz, Lois Weithorn, Brian Bix, Karen Czapansky, & Maxine Eichner, Chapter 2: 
Marriage Lawin F
AMILY
 L
AW
: C
ASES
, T
EXTS
, P
ROBLEMS
, F
IFTH
 E
DITION
 165 (2010); See P
EGGY
 P
ASCOE
, W
HAT
 C
OMES
 
N
ATURALLY
: M
ISCEGENATION
 L
AW
 
AND
 
THE
 M
AKING
 
OF
 R
ACE
 
IN
 A
MERICA
 4 (2009).
35
 See Chemerinsky, supra note 9. 
36
 Providing contextualized coverage of events is one of the responsibilities of the press articulated by the 1947 
Hutchins Commission on Freedom of Press. Betty Winfield & Jeongsub Lim, An Intelligent Account of the Day’s  
Events in a Context Which Gives Them Meaning: Historical Referents in European and North American Immigration  
News Stories
in F
REEDOM
 F
IGHTER
: A F
ESTSCHRIFT
 H
ONORING
 J
OHN
 C. M
ERRILL
 
ON
 H
IS
 S
IX
 D
ECADES
 
OF
 S
ERVICE
 
TO
 J
OURNALISM
 
E
DUCATION
 131 (Donald Hatley & Paula Furr eds., 2007).
37
 See Winfield, Leshner, & Kononova supra note 11, at 3.
38
 See Winfield, Friedman, & Trisnadi, supra note 8, at 136. MacMillan identified a fourth use, that history can 
enforce “an imagined community.” Enforcing an imagined community occurs when a person or group seeks to discover 
or create a collective identity that reaches backward or forward in time. This fourth use is important to recognize in the 
context of the gay rights movement and marriage discourse, but for the purposes of this study will be seen as another 
kind of contextualizing use of history. See M
AC
M
ILLAN
supra note 20, at 58.
39
 M
ICHAEL
 S
CHUDSON
, W
ATERGATE
 
IN
 A
MERICAN
 M
EMORY
: H
OW
 W
E
 R
EMEMBER
, F
ORGET
AND
 R
ECONSTRUCT
 
THE
 P
AST
 
206 (1992), at 213.
40
 Id.
41
 See M
AC
M
ILLAN
supra note 20, at 29, 60.
42
 R
ICHARD
 N
EUSTADT
 
AND
 E
RNEST
 M
AY
, T
HINKING
 
IN
 T
IME
: T
HE
 U
SES
 
OF
 H
ISTORY
 
FOR
 D
ECISION
-M
AKERS
 9 (1986). See 
Garcia, supra note 16, at 30-31.
43
 See Garcia, supra note 16, at 32.
44
 A
LLENE
 P
HY
-O
LSEN
, H
ISTORICAL
 G
UIDES
 
TO
 C
ONTROVERSIAL
 I
SSUES
 
IN
 A
MERICA
: S
AME
-
SEX
 M
ARRIAGE
 75 (2006). 
45
 S
TEPHANIE
 C
OONTZ
, M
ARRIAGE
, A H
ISTORY
 274 (2005); See G
EORGE
 C
HAUNCEY
, W
HY
 M
ARRIAGE
? T
HE
 H
ISTORY
 
S
HAPING
 T
ODAY
S
 D
EBATE
 O
VER
 G
AY
 E
QUALITY
 22 ( 2004).
46
 See C
OONTZ
supra note 45, at 274. 
47
 See C
HAUNCEY
supra note 45, at 52. Coontz also countered popular conceptions of traditional marriage by 
citing that, historically, there have been more polygynous (multi-partner, non-marital) than monogamous relationships. 
The trend toward monogamous marriage, she wrote, is a recent historical development. C
OONTZ
supra note 62, at 10.
48
 See Eskridge, supra note 10, at 1822; Jennifer Earl, The Gay 90s? Models of Legal Decision-Making,  
Change, and History, 16 J
OURNAL
 
OF
 H
ISTORICAL
 S
OCIOLOGY
 115 (2003). 
49
 Adams v. Howerton, 486 F.Supp. 1119 (9th Cir. 1980).
50
 See Earl, supra note 70, at 48; Adams v. Howerton, supra note 49, at 1123. 
51
 Marcia Coyle, The first case, 40 years on, T
HE
 N
ATIONAL
 L
AW
 J
OURNAL
, Aug. 23, 2010, available at 
52
 Michael Klarman, The civil rights trap; Presidents who have gotten too far ahead of public opinion have  
paid a substantial price, L.A. T
IMES
, Sept. 19, 2010, at A36. 
53
 Jones v. Hallahan, 501 S.W.2d. 588, 589 (Ky. 1973).
54
 Brandon L. H. Aultman, From Hawaii to Massachusetts: The Politics, Interest and Strategy of the Same-Sex  
Marriage Movement (paper presented at the Northeastern Political Science Association, Boston, MA, Nov.13-15, 2008) 
(on file with the author).
55
 Baehr v. Lewin, 852 P.2d 44 (Haw. 1993).
56
 Carey Goldberg, HAWAII JUDGE ENDS GAY-MARRIAGE BAN, N.Y. T
IMES
, Dec. 4, 1996, at A1. The 
Hawaii state legislature also preserved the traditional ideal by passing a statute to limit marriage to heterosexual 
couples. The statute was challenged in 1998 with a new state defendant in Baehr v. Miike, 950 P.2d 1234 (Haw. 1996). 
Baehr v. Miike marked the first time that organized interest groups converged to support litigation. See Aultman, supra 
note 50. Among these groups were Lambda Legal, Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders (GLAD), Human Rights 
Campaign (HRC), the National Center for Lesbian Rights, and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (NGLTF). Id. 
at 19-21. Before the issue was settled in court, however, the people of Hawaii passed by ballot measure a constitutional 
amendment limiting marriage to heterosexual couples. See Eskridge, supra note 13, at 1819.
57
 As of September 2010, the National Conference of State Legislatures reported that 17 states and 
Washington, D.C., issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, recognize marriage licenses issued by other states, or 
allow civil unions or domestic partnerships, available at http://www.ncsl.org/default.aspx?tabid=16430.
58
 R
ODGER
 S
TREITMATTER
, F
ROM
 ‘P
ERVERTS
’ 
TO
 ‘F
AB
 F
IVE
’: T
HE
 M
EDIA
S
 C
HANGING
 D
EPICTION
 
OF
 G
AY
 M
EN
 
AND
 
L
ESBIANS
 161 (2009), 161-62. The Chronicle was just one of many reputable newspapers, including the Boston Globe 
and the New York Times, to go beyond standard journalistic neutrality to report on the positive characteristics of same-
sex couples to implicitly or explicitly support marriage equality. Streitmatter noted that the Washington Post declared, 


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