Author Jo Becker has defended Forcing the Spring: Inside the Fight for Marriage Equality, her book about the overturning of California’s anti-gay marriage law Proposition 8, saying that it was never intended to be a ‘history of the entire gay rights movement’.
She was responding to LGBT activists such as Dan Savage and Kevin Jennings who have attacked her book for emphasising the legal aspect of the struggle at the expense of the grass roots campaigning that many feel was so crucial to repealing Prop 8.
In a recent interview with MSNBC’s Ronan Farrow, Becker, who is a Pullitzer Prize-winning journalist, defended her decision to focus on the legal case: ‘The entire LGBT legal establishment was opposed to taking a case to federal court. … This was absolutely a revolutionary step to take and one that was very controversial at the time’.
Forcing the Spring begins with the sentence “This is how a revolution begins” and goes on to recount Proposition 8’s passing into law before it was successfully challenged in the Supreme Court by political consultant Chad Griffin, who Becker likens to civil rights hero Rosa Parks.
The decision to try to change the law was, for Becker, a ‘game-changer’ which opposed the ‘state-by-state’ strategy same-sex marriage activists had used previously. The historic Proposition 8 case saw main attorneys Ted Olson and David Boies face off in an epic legal battle that prompted the interest of LGBT communities all around the globe.
Since the abolition of Proposition 8, marriage equality has high on the news agenda in both the United States and across the world.