Sex and the Constitution: Sex, Religion, and Law from America's Origins to the Twenty-First Century, by Geoffrey R Stone
There has never been a book like Sex and the Constitution, a one-volume history that chapter after chapter overturns popular shibboleths, while dramatically narrating the epic story of how sex came to be legislated in America.
Beginning his volume in the ancient and medieval worlds, Geoffrey R. Stone demonstrates how the Founding Fathers, deeply influenced by their philosophical forebears, saw traditional Christianity as an impediment to the pursuit of happiness and to the quest for human progress. Acutely aware of the need to separate politics from the divisive forces of religion, they crafted a constitution that expressed the fundamental values of the Enlightenment.
The twentieth century saw the emergence of bitter divisions over issues of sexual “morality” and sexual freedom. Fiercely determined organizations and individuals on both the right and the left wrestled in the domains of politics, religion, public opinion, and the courts to win over the soul of the nation.
With its stirring portrayals of Supreme Court justices, Sex and the Constitution reads like a dramatic gazette of the critical cases they decided, ranging from Griswold v. Connecticut (contraception), to Roe v. Wade (abortion), to Obergefell v. Hodges (gay marriage), with Stone providing vivid historical context to the decisions that have come to define who we are as a nation.
“This title is a commanding synthesis of scholarship on over two centuries of American legal debate and practice regarding these issues . . . Stone’s analysis is highly recommended for anyone seeking an introduction to the history of U.S. law and sexual expression.” - Publisher's Weekly
“A comprehensive history and analysis of our law's fitful and frequently schizophrenic treatment of sex ...Those interested in adding historical context to their thinking about these hot button issues would be well-advised to add Stone's book to their summer reading list.” - Pittsburgh Post-Gazette