How same-sex marriage came to be

Next week, the Supreme Court will hear a pair of cases involving same-sex marriage. Harvard Law School Professor Michael Klarman has written a legal history of gay marriage, “From the Closet to the Altar: Courts, Backlash and the Struggle for Same Sex Marriage.” In the March-April 2013 issue of Harvard Magazine, which appears below, Klarman published an article on “How Same-Sex Marriage Came to Be.” His scholarship was also profiled in the Fall 2012 issue of the Harvard Law Bulletin in an article titled “The Courts and Public Opinion.”

The courts and public opinion: Klarman examines the legal fight for same-sex marriage

Michael Klarman’s scholarship has focused on the effect that court rulings have on social reform movements. He argues that when courts get ahead of public opinion, political backlash often follows. That’s what he found in an earlier book he wrote on race and the U.S. Supreme Court, and it is a phenomenon he has also observed in cases involving the death penalty and abortion. In his new book, “From the Closet to the Altar: Courts, Backlash, and the Struggle for Same-Sex Marriage,” the HLS professor explores whether the same effect has taken place when it comes to same-sex marriage litigation.

The Courts and Public Opinion

Michael Klarman’s scholarship has focused on the effect that court rulings have on social reform movements. He argues that when courts get ahead of public opinion, political backlash often follows. That’s what he found in an earlier book he wrote on race and the U.S. Supreme Court, and it is a phenomenon he has also observed in cases involving the death penalty and abortion.mIn his new book, “From the Closet to the Altar: Courts, Backlash, and the Struggle for Same-Sex Marriage” (Oxford), the HLS professor explores whether the same effect has taken place when it comes to same-sex marriage litigation.

Klarman, taking Kirkland & Ellis Chair, examines ‘Racial Equality in American History’ (video)

Harvard Law School Professor Michael Klarman gave a talk discussing “Racial Equality in American History” to mark his appointment as the Kirkland & Ellis Professor of Law. The wide-ranging talk, given on April 12, touched upon civil rights history, legal history, and cultural history in order to uncover, as Klarman said, “the racial attitudes and practices in American history, and how and why they change over time.”