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Forcing the Spring: Inside the Fight for Marriage Equality Hardcover – 25 Jun 2014


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 470 pages
  • Publisher: The Penguin Press (25 Jun. 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1594204446
  • ISBN-13: 978-1594204449
  • Product Dimensions: 16.4 x 3.7 x 24.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 779,401 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Dr. Alexis Bishop on 10 July 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
This book gives an outstanding outline of the case for gay marriage.

Yet, I am surprised it makes no mention of God's case for gay marriage. This because, the preacher - having pulled the wool over the eyes - has convinced the populace the Bible is the great enemy of gay marriage. Whereas, in truth, it is it greatest friend. I feel it my duty to speak of this here.

There is only one verse in the Bible that defines marriage as a union of two souls - a union made by God. And it involves two men. Don't take my word for it. Consider the word of one of the most brilliant men to rise to the papacy--John Paul I.

As bishop of commencement services of the seminary in Vittorio Veneto in the summer of 1960, Albino Luciani (John Paul I) spoke of falling in love:

"...Though the Bible's only account of falling in love (Samuel 18) involves two men: `It came to pass...the soul of Jonathan was knit with the soul of David. Then Jonathan made a covenant with David, because he loved him as his own soul;' it applies to everyone...

Therefore we must hold in sanctified trust this most hallowed personification of God's creation--this perfect balance of mental energy that exists between any two people who fall in love.

The rest of this thing one calls `love' is nothing more than the animal in us. To think it pertains to body parts, is to say the Holy Sacrament of Matrimony pertains equally to apes in the wild as it does to human beings.

When Christ said: `Let no man put asunder what God has joined together,' He was speaking of that beautiful state of mind that exists when any two of God's children fall in love--no matter who those two people happen to be. A union made by God.
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Format: Hardcover
This is, without a doubt, the best book I've read this year. Filled with compelling twists and turns, this important account is truly a tale of hope and triumph over adversity. As a compelling story about the fulfilment of the American dream, this legal thriller is definitely worthy of film adaptation. It chronicles how the actions of a few brave campaigners, during this time of struggle, have ensured that now many more people can make their dreams come true and get married.
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By Hande Z TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 19 May 2014
Format: Hardcover
This is an account of how the case Hollingsworth v Perry was decided. That case was a suit for the right of gays to marry each other, and to strike down Proposition 8 which was a Californian constitutional amendment that provided that "only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California" .

It was written by a journalist who followed the case from the decision to sue to the day of judgment. Becker (the author) was thus able to follow the strategies involved and how they were achieved. That included who they chose as counsel - Ted Olson and David Boies, two of America's most prominent constitutional lawyers. They fought each other on opposite sides in the case of "Bush v Gore".

This book has many gems, including the side show in which the US Supreme Court ruled that the trial judge was not entitled to have the trial filmed and loaded on Youtube. The plaintiffs accepted that decision, but since they were backed by Hollywood people, a re-creation of the trial was done after the trial. That re-creation was scripted and directed to reflect how the court proceedings went. Prominent actors including Brad Pitt and George Clooney acted in it.

For those who enjoy the law, this book has an excellent account of how a trial judge (Vaughn Walker) thinks through the case and how he deliberates on the legal issues.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 108 reviews
35 of 49 people found the following review helpful
Must Read Book 3 May 2014
By operabuff - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a terrific book – engrossing, beautifully written and deeply moving. I could not put it down. It is the story of a group of individuals who in 2008 decided to work together to bring a constitutional challenge to the infamous Prop 8 in California, with an eye to a chance at the Supreme Court. At the time, many in the gay establishment bitterly opposed this as going too fast, too soon. Judging from the venom-filled reviews here, some have never gotten over it! (And give the impression that they didn’t even bother to read the book before trashing it.)

No one can deny the startling speed at which support for same-sex marriage has grown since 2008 and I believe that it has been due in part to the efforts of the brave individuals chronicled in this book. One of the many heroes of the story is Ted Olson, the renowned conservative lawyer of Bush vs. Gore fame who is one of the most eloquent and outspoken supporters of same-sex marriage today. There has been a shift also due in great part to younger gay people who grew up with less internalized homophobia, and who are demanding equal rights for all now as opposed to incremental crumbs. The book does not aim nor claim to be a comprehensive history of the same-sex marriage movement in the US. The author herself characterizes it as “a fly-on-the-wall account of this chapter in the nation’s civil rights history”. Wonderful book, highly recommended.
28 of 41 people found the following review helpful
Fabulous work 3 May 2014
By cowpuppy - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
Jo Becker, one of the best of the best, nails this narrative tale of a significant piece of American history. Great reporting, great writing.
10 of 15 people found the following review helpful
A brisk but incomplete account of the marriage equality movement 27 May 2014
By Caldog - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Imagine a book that purports to be about the Grand Canyon, but as you read it you realize, page after page, the book is only a vivid and exhaustive description of the visitors center. You read about the architecture of the visitors center, its history, a discussion of the gift shop's wares and a flattering profile of the current manager. But the book gives only scant and dismissive reference to the Grand Canyon's spectacular age-old landforms just outside the door.

Such a book is "Forcing the Spring," Jo Becker's account of the marriage equality movement. It focuses almost entirely on the Proposition 8 litigation, the Windsor case, and some of the recent political trends and victories favoring same-sex marriage. References to the ACLU, Lambda Legal and like organizations that have pursued a different strategy to secure LGBT marriage rights are mentioned only in passing and in a less than favorable light. The "Fight for Marriage Equality" has been far broader than the cramped scope of this book, its subtitle notwithstanding.

Becker depicts Chad Griffin - the current president of the Human Rights Campaign - as the driving force to secure marriage equality's recent gains. Oddly while Theodore Olson is "Olson" and David Boies is "Boies", Mr. Griffin is "Chad." And so "Chad" is the hero of "Forcing the Spring", making his appearance throughout the book as he glides from strategy session to celebrity fundraiser to political elbow-rubbing to campaign rally to election night vigil to legal same-sex weddings, interspersed with tender moments involving the hero and his marriage equality co-crusaders.

Other book reviews and op-eds have detailed the manifest omissions and inaccuracies concerning the history and personae of the marriage equality movement. This despite the copious endnotes that mostly detail documents and conversations. For example Ms. Becker refers to Fred Phelps' notorious Westboro Baptist Church as from Florida. (It is headquartered near Topeka, Kansas.)

Nonetheless "Forcing the Spring" moves at a breathless pace and pages turn themselves. To readers who relish the drama of the courtroom and legal process, this will be a gripping narrative hard to put down. For entertainment value, "Forcing the Spring" would get five stars. But as an historical account of a significant American civil rights struggle, Becker's book barely makes it out of the visitors center.
115 of 174 people found the following review helpful
Morally repellent 22 April 2014
By Adam Goldfarb - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Being interested in LGBT history, I purchased this book with the expectation that it would provide an insightful take on the recent events surrounding the fight for Same Sex Marriage. This book does not do anything close to that. This is basically a very long press release for Chad Griffin and Ted Olson. The book offers no insight into the sweeping, grassroots campaign that led to the overturn of Prop 8. Additionally, there is absolutely no perspective provided about the numerous courageous and brave LGBT activists who worked hard to bring about the recent same sex marriage wins. Please avoid this book if you're looking for insight into the same sex marriage debate. Instead, do check out Dudley Clendinen's Out for Good, a much well-research and intelligent account of same sex marriage.
19 of 29 people found the following review helpful
If I Could Add a Few More Stars I Would 4 May 2014
By C. E. Selby - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The reason for the plethora of one-star reviews, mostly if not all written by people who obviously haven’t read this excellent piece of well-researched journalism begins in chapter 3, “Just Wait.” Jo Becker discusses the two sides—the one advocating for a slow state-by-state legalizing of same-sex marriage with that of those who set out to overturn California’s Proposition 8 through the U. S. courts, an effort to move the issue to the level of the U. S. Supreme Court.
What the author does not do—but is accused of doing in these one-star “reviews—is to take sides. In this 400-plus page book she is merely reporting and doing so in excellent moving prose.
However, those who advocated for “just wait” are angry at her, one being the ubiquitous Andrew Sullivan who tends to be rather ego-centric, wanting all the credit. This book is only about that landmark case which would find Proposition 8 unconstitutional and would, as a result, allow for marriage equality in California. The book is NOT about—and not intended to be about—the sweeping history of how the gay “community” got to this point in history. And Ms. Becker attacks absolutely no one. She belittles no one. So be warned that what you read in those one-star reviews is very biased.
Jo Becker embedded herself with the players and the most unlikely of attorneys to take the case, Ted Olson, the Republican who, in 2000, won the Bush v. Gore case. Ironically the other attorney working to defeat Proposition 8, working with Olson, would be the attorney who represented Al Gore, David Boies.
This is such an easy read as the players are introduced including America’s favorite Meathead (remember him, Archie Bunker’s son-in-law, the liberal in “All in the Family”?), Rob Reiner and his wife Michele.
The set up of the book is essentially chronological, taking the reader step-by-step from how two people running a California-based company got the case going up through the Supreme Court rulings and then the outcomes for the two sets of plaintives. Although usually I prefer to read current fiction—a lot of it—I loved reading this book with the wonderful descriptions of people and the just-right and not-too-much smatterings of dialogues. Tears oozed down my face when I read the dialogue of one of a set of 13-year-old twins, children of one plaintive, who was texting his friends about the court outcomes. We are so blessed today to have such a ground-swelling from young people on marriage equality.
Chapter 11, “History Lessons,” could easily be a stand-alone piece for anyone who wants to show someone else the history of how we got to where we are, done through the “expert” witnesses regarding the changing roles of marriage as well as the history of discrimination against gays (like me).
The book also deals with how the Olsen-Boies team, working in collaboration with many other attorneys and interested parties, including the Reiners, created and executed a plan to increase the size of the straight population who would favor gay marriage. Within a few months the margin had increase by nearly ten percent, so that by the time this got to the Supreme Court, there the public were more in favor than against.
In addition the book shows the strategy of the two attorneys, both of whom represent clients before the Supreme Court, to win the support of the swing-vote justice, Anthony Kennedy. And how they succeeded.
The book is divided into four sections with a total of 40 chapters ending with this one: “June Is for Weddings.” Of course it was June when the Supreme Court found for the plaintives.
If I could give this a couple more stars beyond five I would.
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