by Stephanie Coontz
Viking, 2005, 413 pp., $29.95
Richard Nixon is justly famous for opening up China, covering up Watergate, vetoing a comprehensive child care act, and passing some of the most protective environmental legislation in our nation’s history. But until I read Stephanie Coontz’s engaging and provocative history of marriage, I did not recall that he had predicted—as early as 1970— that we would have to wait until 2000 before gay marriage would be acceptable to the American people.
He wasn’t far off. Even though a majority of Americans still don’t support same-sex marriage, social attitudes have changed dramatically since 1970. Within the last few years, a few courts have declared same-sex marriage constitutional, and several mayors have issued marriage ...
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