Share this

Law and the Gay Rights Story: The Long Search for Equal Justice in a Divided Democracy, Walter Frank

Reviewed by Ellen Ann Andersen



Walter Frank has written an engaging account of the evolution of the modern gay rights movement, with a particular focus on the broad scope of legal claims the movement has generated. The book’s signal achievement is its accessible and compelling prose. Frank translates legalese into English, and he tells vivid stories that drive home the human cost of antigay discrimination. Moreover, he packs a lot of law, history, and politics into a small package, making his book an excellent primer for undergraduates and laypeople interested in either the gay rights movement or the study of law and society.

The first third of the book lays out a chronology of the emergence and progress of an organized movement for gay rights in the years between 1945 and 1992. Up until the 1980s, Frank argues, the primary goal of lesbians and gay men was freedom: freedom from state harassment and arrest, freedom to express themselves, and freedom to gather with others. However, the over­whelming demands of the AIDS epidemic radically transformed the lives of lesbians and gay men, and by the 1992 elections, a new emphasis on equality and full integration into American society was beginning to coalesce.

It is this search for equality that most captures Frank’s interest. After two prefatory chapters, one discussing larger sociopolitical trends concerning gay rights

To continue reading, see options above.

More by This Author

Queers in Court: Gay Rights Law and Public Policy, Susan Gluck Mezey Reviewed by Ellen Ann Andersen

About PSQ's Editor


Full Access

Join the Academy of Political Science and automatically receive Political Science Quarterly.


JOBS: The Future of Jobs in America

May 20, 2021


Editor’s spotlight

Revisiting the New Deal

What the New Deal Did
David M. Kennedy

Franklin D. Roosevelt and The Transcendence of Partisan Politics
Sidney M. Milkis


Search the Archives

Publishing since 1886, PSQ is the most widely read and accessible scholarly journal with distinguished contributors such as: Lisa Anderson, Robert A. Dahl, Samuel P. Huntington, Robert Jervis, Joseph S. Nye, Jr., Theda Skocpol, Woodrow Wilson

view additional issues

Most read

Articles | Book reviews

Understanding the Bush Doctrine
Robert Jervis

The Study of Administration
Woodrow Wilson

Notes on Roosevelt's "Quarantine" Speech
Dorothy Borg

view all

New APS Book

Presidential Selection and Democracy   PRESIDENTIAL SELECTION AND DEMOCRACY

About US

Academy of Political Science

The Academy of Political Science, promotes objective, scholarly analyses of political, social, and economic issues. Through its conferences and publications APS provides analysis and insight into both domestic and foreign policy issues.

Political Science Quarterly

With neither an ideological nor a partisan bias, PSQ looks at facts and analyzes data objectively to help readers understand what is really going on in national and world affairs.

Stay Connected

newsstand locator
About APS