Friday, 31 January 2014

Homosexuality and the Law

At the moment I am finishing my new book, Law, Religion and Homosexuality, written with Robert Vanderbeck, a human geographer and expert in religion at the University of Leeds. The book examines how religion has shaped, and continues to shape, legislation that regulates the lives of gay men and lesbians in the UK. In the book we show how religious discourse, contrary to what many people claim, continues to be central to both enabling and restricting the development of sexual orientation equality in law. At the same time, I am revising and updating my previous book, Homosexuality and the European Court of Human Rights, in advance of its paperback publication in March. In doing so, I have added a new preface that provides an overview of the Court’s sexual orientation jurisprudence in the two years since the book was first published, and revised the chronological list of cases at the end of the book to make it more comprehensive.

For those interested in law and sexuality, at the very top of my recommended reading list would be two books. The first is The Homosexual(ity) of Law by Leslie J. Moran, which I first read as an undergraduate at the time of its publication in 1996. Moran’s book is an empirically rich and theoretically dazzling study of English law relating to homosexuality. It’s not only academically rigorous but beautifully written and I can’t think of another academic book that, over nearly twenty years, has inspired me as much. The second book is Sexual Orientation and Human Rights by Robert Wintemute which was first published in 1997. Wintemute’s book is an exemplar of critical legal scholarship which, when it first appeared, provided a way of understanding how human rights law could be mobilized to pursue legal equality for sexual minorities – it’s easy to forget that, even in the late 1990s, the idea that ‘gay rights’ were ‘human rights’ was still novel. Wintemute’s book manages to combine the highest standards of legal analysis with a passion for justice and that’s why it is a great read.

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