Vermont's civil union wars
by Christopher L. Walton
David Moats won a Pulitzer Prize in 2000 for his Rutland Herald editorials about Vermont's dramatic same-sex civil unions battle. In this lively book, which reads more like a novel than a social history, Moats roots the political and legal arguments in richly drawn portraits of the three same-sex couples who applied for marriage licenses, the judges and lawyers who argued their case, and the politicians, activists, and everyday citizens—all neighbors, in tiny Vermont—who supported or opposed their quest for legal recognition of their relationships. The result is very nearly a biography of an entire state, full of lessons for future civil rights battles in other states.Stan Baker, the lead plaintiff in the case, tells Moats, “One of the most radical things to do is to go into a culture, right into the heart of the culture, and say I belong here.” Civil Wars is a compelling portrait of courageous people who said, “We belong here,” and of neighbors who ultimately agreed.
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