In this post, Kenji Yoshino discusses his forthcoming book Speak Now: Marriage Equality on Trial (Crown, April 2015). The renowned legal scholar’s newest work tells the definitive story of Hollingsworth v. Perry, the trial that will stand as the most potent argument for marriage equality. Advanced copies are available, please email firstname.lastname@example.org (limited to first ten respondents).
Q. SPEAK NOW revisits the much-publicized Hollingsworth v. Perry federal trial, which overturned Proposition 8, California’s ban on same-sex marriage. Why did you feel this case warranted closer examination?
A. When I read the 2010 decision in the case striking down Prop 8, I noticed that it was different in kind from other decisions on same-sex marriage. The 136-page opinion was encrusted with facts, which were drawn from the twelve-day Hollingsworth v. Perry trial, the first federal trial ever on this topic. Then, when I read the 3,000-page transcript of the proceedings, I had the experience of many readers—perhaps the experience that defines us as readers—of “falling into” the text and not emerging into everyday life until I had turned the final page. It was a shining civil rights document—more thorough, rigorous, and dramatic than any debate I had ever encountered on the subject of same-sex marriage. Because the trial was not televised, I became obsessed with bringing the proceedings to the general public. Continue reading