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Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Oregonian book review of new gay marriage history book

ONE Magazine Aug. 1953 'Homosexual marriage?' cover headline PHOTO: ONE Magazine was ahead of its time when it mentioned the idea of "homosexual marriage" in 1953 long before "gay marriage" or same-sex marriage became a cause of some gay liberationists. Former Oregon State University Assistant Professor of Landscape Architecture W. Dorr Legg was one of the major contributors to the ONE homophile magazine and he was a conservative who probably saw gay marriage as being a conservative value. (See previous posts Oregon same-sex marriage vote and Pope resigns hits front page (2/21/13), W. Dorr Legg OSU archives records 1935-1942 (7/31/10) and Thomas Kraemer, "Corvallis, Oregon State University gay activism 1969-2004," printed to PDF from in 2010 is permanently stored by the OSU Scholars Archives @ OSU)

Given my low vision blindness, it will take me a few more weeks to read more than just a book review of a new book on the history of gay marriage (See book review by Judith Barrington, Special to The Oregonian, "Surprising scenes behind the successful marriage war," The Oregonian, Sunday, Dec. 7, 2014, p. 4 A&E Section, and posted online December 03, 2014 of the new book by Marc Solomon, "Winning Marriage: The Inside Story of How Same-Sex Couples Took on the Politicians and Pundits--And Won," Foreedge 2014)

The Oregonian (Portland, Oregon) Sunday newspaper reviewer Judith Barrington said, "I was pretty sure I already knew most of what would be in this book when I opened it. But as it turned out, there were plenty of surprises in Marc Solomon's 'Winning Marriage.'"

I'm guessing that a book written by the national campaign director of Freedom to Marry will focus on the more recent history of the battle for gay marriage equality, however, on Sunday I asked "The Oregonian" newspaper editor to publish the following bit of "ancient history" (as most newspaper editors dismiss it):

I noticed the Dec. 7 book review of "Winning Marriage" ignored the contributions of the former Oregon State University Professor W. Dorr Legg (1904-1994) who in the 1950's published an academic research journal paper that predicted "homophile marriage" would be a natural consequence of gaining equal rights for gay people.

I was a member of the gay liberation group behind the first U.S. Supreme Court decision on gay marriage in 1972, which let stand Jack Baker's legally performed same-sex marriage because Minnesota marriage laws at that time did not specify gender and Baker's marriage was never legally ordered dissolved by any court.

Sadly, I witnessed the first national gay rights lobbyists in the 1970's angrily reject the conservative values and genius of Legg and Baker because, along with women liberation groups, they viewed marriage only as a tool used by men to oppress women.

Thomas Kraemer
Founder, Oregon State University Foundation Magnus Hirschfeld Fund for research concerning humans or animals with a minority sexual orientation or gender identity

(Quoted from Thomas Kraemer, The (Portland) Oregonian letters to the editor on My Oregon Public Blog, "Oregon gay marriage history," posted Dec. 8, 2014 3:16PM)

My physical hardback copy of the book is scheduled to arrive today and I hope to blog more after reading it, which as I said might take several weeks, especially now that OSU is out for Christmas break until after the new year starts. (This is a small college that literally empties out during college breaks, which is great for doing many things without any crowds!)

(UPDATE 12/12/12/14) My physical copy of the book arrived and between perusal of the index and the ability to search inside the digital copy of the book, I confirmed that the book doesn't make a connection to prior gay marriage activism in America, much less internationally --this would make a good Ph.D. thesis for somebody to write, hint, hint!