Gay Rights And Moral Panic: The Origins of America's Debate on Homosexuality

Paperback | December 15, 2010

byFred Fejes

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In 1977 and 1978, voters across the country went to the polls in a series of referenda to decide whether lesbians and gay men were citizens deserving equal protection under the law—or perverts and outcasts. These contests served as the first national debate about gay rights, and set the pattern that still shapes this controversy today. Focusing on the first major referendum battle in Miami and moving outward, Gay Rights and Moral Panic is a lively and detailed account of these campaigns, which pitted the civil rights claims of America’s lesbians and gay men against society’s powerful beliefs and fears about homosexuality.

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In 1977 and 1978, voters across the country went to the polls in a series of referenda to decide whether lesbians and gay men were citizens deserving equal protection under the law—or perverts and outcasts. These contests served as the first national debate about gay rights, and set the pattern that still shapes this controversy today....

Fred Fejes is a Professor of Media Studies at Florida Atlantic University.

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Hardcover|Jan 31 1986

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:292 pages, 8.5 × 5.5 × 0.66 inPublished:December 15, 2010Publisher:Palgrave MacmillanLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0230108261

ISBN - 13:9780230108264

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Table of Contents

Lesbians, Gay Men, and "The Minority Rights Revolution * The Homosexual in the American Public Imaginiation, 1977 * Gay Rights Come to Miami * The Campaign Begins * The Vote * St. Paul, Wichita, Eugene * California, Seattle, Miami * The Gay Rights Debate

Editorial Reviews

“The overall portrait Fejes weaves is thorough, copiously documented, compelling, and valuable for all who wish to deepen their knowledge of U.S. gay history.”—The Journal of American Culture“This is an estimable book, the reading of which will benefit any historian of the post-World War II United States.”—The Journal of American History“Gay Rights and Moral Panic is a significant scholarly effort that illuminates the multifaceted dimensions of the gay rights debate in Dade County and its reverberation across the nation, and indeed around the world. This is an important book that is foundational for those interested in twentieth century LGBT history, social justice and human rights campaigns, the role of the religious right in late twentieth century politics, and the intersection of historicity, media representations, and identity.”—Women’s Studies in Communication“Histories of the gay rights movement tend to concentrate on the Stonewall Riots, but Fejes offers a different perspective on the struggle for equal rights for gays and lesbians, as well as an account of the rise of the conservative Christian movement that explores in depth its relationship to the modern gay rights movement. After reading this extended narrative of political struggles to secure human rights for gays and lesbians, readers will be inclined explore how the struggle for gay rights compares to other notable struggles for justice and equality. Fejes’ narrative skill argues well that, regardless of the specific outcomes, a stronger, bolder homosexual identity as a political force emerged in the aftermath of the 1977 and 1978 campaigns.”—Journal of Homosexuality“Fred Fejes writes in an informative manner that still delights and inspires. Gay Rights and Moral Panic speaks to an audience with knowledge of gay history and media representation in the last century, and educates the uninitiated.”—South Florida Gay News  "Fejes forges through thickets of misinformation peddled by figures in the media, the government and the world of psychology from the '30s to the '70s before honing in on the key legislative battles that framed the ongoing debate about homosexual equality."--John Thomason, The Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel “Best suited for readers who are interested in the detailed history of this particular time period of the GLBTQ movement, or social movements in general. Recommended.” —CHOICE   “Fejes offers a detailed chronicle of the course and local context of Bryant’s 1977 ‘crusade’ (her word) and useful summaries of six gay-rights referenda.”—Journal of Social History “[Fejes is] the go-to guy for South Florida gay history.”--Robert Rosenberg, founding director, Miami Gay & Lesbian Film Festival "This clearly written book offers an excellent analysis of the development of gay and lesbian civil rights laws.  It is chock full of interesting details and anecdotes that are essential to understanding the complex politics of this issue."  --Susan Burgess, The Law and Politics Book Review "The fight for gay civil rights did not begin in Greenwich Village nor end in the Castro. There have been many battlefields in this long struggle and Miami has played a central role in our ongoing fight for equality. Gay Rights and Moral Panic will take a central place on the list of indispensable works for anyone wishing to understand the past--and the present--of sexual minorities in America."--Larry Gross, Professor and Director, USC Annenberg School for Communication