Chicago Magazine Talks with Linda Hirshman '69, Author of 'Victory: The Triumphant Gay Revolution'
The issue of gay marriage has made local and national headlines for the past few weeks, with President Obama declaring his support last month, and with two gay rights groups filing a lawsuit against the clerk of Cook County last week. Good timing for a new work by former Chicagoan Linda Hirshman, whose third book, Victory: The Triumphant Gay Revolution is out today.
Late last week, I met with Hirshman (a graduate of the University of Chicago Law School with a PhD in philosophy from the University of Illinois at Chicago) to talk about her new book, as well as the Lambda Legal and ACLU lawsuits against Cook County, which challenge the constitutionality of state law denying same-sex marriage. (Since last year, gays here have been allowed civil unions.) Is it smart, I asked, to push for same-sex marriage through the courts instead of through the legislature? (Five state supreme courts—in Hawaii, Massachusetts, Connecticut, California, and Iowa—have declared denial of same-sex marriage unconstitutional). Hirshman answered with an emphatic “yes,” but she was particularly impressed by the wisdom of taking the state rather than federal court route: “The federal courts have been filled with Republican appointees, so people in the gay movement recognize that the federal courts are hostile.”
When I asked her if Illinois will eventually have gay marriage, she hedges: “The Illinois Supreme Court has been like the little girl with the little curl—very, very bad and very, very good.” But overall she sounds optimistic about the long run, telling me several times that there are “straight Mormons marching in the gay pride parade in Salt Lake City this year.” (Three hundred Mormons marched in yesterday’s Utah Pride Parade.)
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