Political Science | Gay and Lesbian Politics
Y396 | 3476 | Sanders


The modern gay and lesbian movement was born in the New York City
Stonewall riots of 1969.  More than 30 years after what began as an
angry and disorganized appeal for basic human dignity, gays and
lesbians have entered the mainstream of American politics and law. At
the ballot box, in Congress, state legislatures, and the courts, and
via the media, protest rallies, and organizations from Washington to
college campuses, they are asserting identity, challenging
discrimination, forming families, and asserting claims to rights and
protections under law. Yet even in the age of "Will and Grace," gays
and lesbians remain the nation's most controversial, misunderstood,
and disliked minority, and many Americans remain deeply ambivalent
and conflicted over the gay movement's struggle for rights and
visibility.
After a brief historical overview, we will read about and discuss the
key issues in politics and law where gays and their opponents do
battle: non-discrimination laws, hate crimes, equal marriage and
adoption rights. We will also examine public opinion, voting
behavior, and political campaign tactics, and we will touch on some
of the theoretical and philosophical questions over sexual identity
which influence the gay/lesbian movement's profile and priorities.
	The course will be taught in a traditional seminar format.
Readings -- several current books and a course pack of selected
chapters and articles--will highlight some of the best and most
interesting current thought and writing about gay issues.  Active
student participation through discussion will be expected.  This is a
COAS intensive-writing course, and students will complete two take-
home essay exams (mid-term and final) as well as a term paper. The
course will incorporate video and possibly a few guest speakers.  The
instructor also maintains the web site www.gaypoliticsandlaw.com.