Forcing the Spring
Inside the Fight for Marriage Equality
ISBN 9781594204449 | 480 pages | 22 Apr 2014 | The Penguin Press | 9.25 x 6.10in
Summary of Forcing the Spring Summary of Forcing the Spring Reviews for Forcing the Spring An Excerpt from Forcing the Spring
A tour de force of groundbreaking reportage by Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Jo Becker, Forcing the Spring follows the historic legal challenge mounted against California’s ban on same-sex marriage, a remarkable lawsuit that forced the issue of marriage equality before the highest court in the land. For nearly five years Becker embedded with the lawsuit’s plaintiffs, was given free rein within the legal and political war rooms where strategy was plotted, and attended every day of the trial and every appellate argument. Based on singular access to the internal workings of this momentous trial—and enlivened by original interviews with the participants on both sides of the case, many speaking for the first time—Forcing the Spring offers a gripping behind-the-scenes narrative with the lightning pace of the greatest legal thrillers.
Forcing the Spring begins with California’s controversial ballot initiative Proposition 8, which banned gay men and lesbians from marrying the person they loved. But this electoral defeat galvanized an improbable alliance of opponents to the ban, with political operatives and Hollywood royalty enlisting attorneys Ted Olson and David Boies—the opposing counsels on the Supreme Court’s infamous Bush v. Gore ruling—to join together in a unique bipartisan challenge to the political status quo.
Despite stiff initial opposition from the gay rights establishment, the case against Proposition 8 would ultimately force the issue of marriage equality all the way to the Supreme Court, transforming same-sex marriage from a partisan issue into a modern crisis of civil rights. Shuttling between the twin American power centers of Hollywood and Washington—and based on access to all the key players in the Justice Department and the White House—Becker offers insider coverage on the true story of how President Obama “evolved” to embrace marriage equality, the Obama administration’s surprising role in the Supreme Court battle, and the unexpected role the controversial issue played in the 2012 elections.
What starts out as a tale of an epic legal battle grows into the story of the evolution of a country, a testament and old-fashioned storytelling to move public opinion. Becker shows how the country reexamined its opinions on same-sex marriage, an issue that raced along with a snowballing velocity which astounded veteran political operatives, as public opinion on same-sex marriage flipped and elected officials repositioned themselves to adjust to a dramatically changed environment. Forcing the Spring is the ringside account of this unprecedented change, the fastest shift in public opinion ever seen in modern American politics.
A must-read account of a national civil rights struggle, Forcing the Spring carries readers from the first efforts to stop Proposition 8 and the campaign to undermine the Defense of Marriage Act all the way to the final suspenseful moments in the Supreme Court. Clear-eyed and even-handed, Forcing the Spring is political and legal journalism at its finest, offering an unvarnished perspective on the extraordinary transformation of America and an inside look into the fight to win the rights of marriage and full citizenship for all.
Advance praise for Jo Becker's Forcing the Spring
Jeffrey Toobin, author of The Nine and The Oath
“Jo Becker’s Forcing the Spring is a superb behind-the-scenes account of the legal battle to bring marriage equality to the nation. Drawing on extraordinary access to the internal deliberations of the plaintiffs’ team, Becker shows how law, politics, and personality combined to create a landmark in the history of the Supreme Court—and of the United States.”
Benjamin Todd Jealous, former president and CEO of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People
“Jo Becker’s Forcing the Spring provides the definitive insider account of one of the great civil rights struggles of our times. It is an important and moving historical account that reads like a page-turning legal thriller. This is a must-read for anyone who wants to move our nation forward.”
David Von Drehle, author of Rise to Greatness: Abraham Lincoln and America’s Most Perilous Year and Triangle: The Fire That Changed America
“The movement for marriage equality has been an extraordinary example of historic change at hyper speed. Jo Becker, a gifted journalist, had unparalleled access to the legal drama as well as the human stories of love and courage, and she weaves her witness into a fast-paced narrative of lasting importance.”
David Finkel, author of Thank You for Your Service and The Good Soldiers
“Jo Becker is one of America’s very best journalists, and this book showcases her at her finest. Meticulously reported and passionately written, Forcing the Spring not only illuminates the fight in America for marriage equality, it’s also a thrilling and exhilarating page-turner.”
To keep up-to-date, input your email address, and we will contact you on publication
Please alert me via email when: