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Gay Marriage    by Jonathan Rauch order for
Gay Marriage
by Jonathan Rauch
Order:  USA  Can
Times Books, 2004 (2004)

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* * *   Reviewed by J. A. Kaszuba Locke

With same-sex marriage getting so much media attention these days, Jonathan Rauch's book is timely. He approaches the subject with convincing arguments as to why same-sex marriage is not a moral issue but one of social judgment. Rauch articulately pleads a well-reasoned case to allow gay marriages. His writing style is crisp, entertaining, and the author avoids pomposity. Gay Marriage is a definitive book about same-sex relationships, with bibliography. Rauch's commentaries are fluid and highly readable, including an account of the historical progression of gays through the centuries - it is clear that same-sex relationships have existed, are in existence and will continue to exist.

In the definition of marriage, Rauch makes a sound case for the absence of documentation that conveys what marriage is for; what a married couple must do, or what they must not do to remain married. That is, 'laws state almost nothing about what a marriage is for, just who can be married'. Rauch argues that the recorded definition of marriage only pertains to a man and a woman entering into a committed relationship. Part of his solution is that marriage should be made the norm for all. Rauch makes the argument that same-sex marriages create a healthier, well-functioning society. While growing up, the author himself anticipated that his orientation would be to a 'marriageless life' and believed that 'I would never have two wings and fly, and I would never be married.' He offers readers two questions, along with answers. What is marriage for? 'It is a commitment to be there.' What would gay marriage do? 'Excluding some people from the prospect of marriage is not only harmful to them, it is also corrosive of the institution itself ... Marriage is more than a bond between individuals, it also links them to the community at large.'

I recommend this book to you whether you agree or disagree with its premise - that homosexuals should be allowed the human right to marry. Personally I feel that Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness should be more than just words, that we should live and let live, and that our democratic society should be used as the author suggests 'to tie us together and for remaining true to our national heritage of fairness and humanness toward all.'

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