Sheri's Reviews > Sex and the Constitution: Sex, Religion, and Law from America's Origins to the Twenty-First Century

Sex and the Constitution by Geoffrey R. Stone
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really liked it

Having taught such Constitutional Law topics as contraception, abortion, homosexual status/relationships, and gay marriage, I found this book irresistible.

Stone's approach to the topic is to start with a bunch of history -- what sexual behaviors and rules were in the formative days of western culture. He starts with the Greeks and Romans, and then works his way up through early Christianity, the Middle Ages, the Reformation, and then the initial settling of the US by the early Puritans, Pilgrims & others. As you might expect, when religious "awakenings" occur at periodic intervals, they're accompanied by clamor for repressive laws against sexual behaviors & sexually explicit speech. What is said to have ALWAYS been the case or ALWAYS proscribed turns out not to have been so universal. Good case in point: no laws against abortion in the US until the 20th century, when the AMA joined forces with the religious folk in an effort to eliminate competition from midwives.

As you might expect, the prose is clear and direct, and the topics are logically organized. The entire book was a pleasure to read. One quibble: I wish he hadn't ended the book with the "victory" of gay marriage, but had gone on to discuss in a final chapter the subject of the legal treatment of transgender individuals. I realize he probably wanted to end it on a high note, but there's enough water under the bridge at this point on transgender rights to have elucidated those issues for the reader.
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Reading Progress

Started Reading
May, 2017 – Finished Reading
May 10, 2017 – Shelved

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