living tradition

 Contents: UU World Back Issue

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.

Has a book changed your life? Religious liberals often think of every section of the bookstore as the religion section. Many regard the Bible as only the opening chapter of the scriptural canon. What book has earned a place in your personal canon? Send no more than 300 words describing any book, ancient or modern, that is “a source of the living tradition” of your faith to “Bookshelf,” UU World, 25 Beacon Street, Boston MA 02108. Please include a daytime phone number and your congregational affiliation. Submissions will be considered for a periodic new column.

 Contents: UU World Back Issue
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