cover image Queer Family Values

Queer Family Values

Valerie Lehr. Temple University Press, $74.5 (212pp) ISBN 978-1-56639-683-7

Undertaking a comprehensive survey of conservative arguments against lesbian and gay rights, Lehr--a political analyst and professor of gender studies at St. Lawrence University--offers a counter-analysis and critiques the response of the mainstream gay rights movement to conservative views. Her study draws upon a wide range of sources, including Supreme Court decisions, mainstream journalism, the perspectives of radical gay political activists in ACT UP and Queer Nation, gay theorists such as Nancy Polikoff and Andrew Sullivan and such political commentators as Betty Friedan and Christopher Lasch. Throughout, Lehr cogently argues that the ""traditional"" concepts of marriage, family, gender roles and sexuality that conservatives are trying to defend are unstable and often detrimental to those involved. In response, she postulates a new ""radical democratic politics"" that would ""not bring the state into people's lives, but use state power to enable citizens to have the resources that they need to make real choices."" In large part, this new politic is based on alternative models of family, kinship and sexual relationships pioneered by gay men and lesbians. Lehr's critique of gay marriage may anger mainstream supporters of gay rights legislation, and her views on how to integrate gay children and teens into the gay community may provoke even liberal readers. While much of the book is an explication of political and social theory, Lehr's prescriptions for implementing her ideas are often concrete and practical. (July)